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Space Shuttle Launch

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
1 hour away if i am not wrong. hello closet astronomer appleinsiders. NasaTV through Real seems to be streaming alright
post #2 of 58
Thread Starter 
update: T-20mins and holding
post #3 of 58
Thread Starter 
t-19mins and counting
post #4 of 58
T-9 minutes and counting
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #5 of 58
Launch success!!
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #6 of 58
Thread Starter 
cool. hurrah...! 10-15 minutes to escape velocity. cool.
post #7 of 58
Nasa needed this thats for sure. Shuttle just isnt a reliable or cheap enough way to space. We need a new machine made with todays tech and we need a machine that can go high orbit or better. Shuttle is a big fat pork barrel pig thats not only killed but has costed the US tax payer billions and never has lived up to any of its promises. Retire the shuttle and lets go explore space instead of the dicking around in endless low orbit.
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post #8 of 58
Yeah. Surely there's a "better" way to launch people into outer space 25 years after the launch of the first shuttle.

Keep running the space station, but let's send some folks out to Mars and skip even the moon. We've had humans in space long enough for them to be away for a LONG time -- like on a mission to Mars.

Heck, if I were an astronaut, I'd sign up to have my name in the history books even if it meant I might not come back.

\
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post #9 of 58
For a trip to Mars we'll need some alternate propulsion like nuclear fission rockets. They'll of course only be used at a safe distance from Earth's atmosphere, using conventional chemical rockets but once on route to the red planet, NuFis all the way.

And once we get past the engineering hurdle in creating centrifugal gravity ships, there will be less health concerns about extended time in space for humans.
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by Outsider
For a trip to Mars we'll need some alternate propulsion like nuclear fission rockets. They'll of course only be used at a safe distance from Earth's atmosphere, using conventional chemical rockets but once on route to the red planet, NuFis all the way.

And once we get past the engineering hurdle in creating centrifugal gravity ships, there will be less health concerns about extended time in space for humans.

With a launch success rate of about 95%, I don't think I want to have that 5% chance of the nuclear material blowing up on the launch pad or up in the atmosphere.
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
Yeah. Surely there's a "better" way to launch people into outer space 25 years after the launch of the first shuttle.

\

No kidding. Nasa and many private companies are doing a lot of work with non-chemical propulsion. Ultimately, the one that will win is electrostatic propulsion (assumed to be gravity drive), but there's a lot of science that needs to happen first, and presumably a lot of energy research that needs to happen, since running electrostatic engines takes a lot of electricity.

On another note, I took a break from work at 10:30 to watch it go up. (I do actually live where it says I live. . . more or less.)
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post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by Existence
With a launch success rate of about 95%, I don't think I want to have that 5% chance of the nuclear material blowing up on the launch pad or up in the atmosphere.

Even with chemical propulsion, there are safe ways of containing nuclear material in the event of a catastrophic explosion. There are other ways of getting things in orbit as well. Check out the Space Plane for low earth orbit entry.
post #13 of 58
Put the frelling shuttle in a museum -- that's where they belong. And do it quick before more people get killed.

Also, why send humans to Mars when robots can do essentially the same thing? We could, for the same money, explore 100 times the amount of our SS with robots rather than with humans.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Put the frelling shuttle in a museum -- that's where they belong. And do it quick before more people get killed.

Also, why send humans to Mars when robots can do essentially the same thing? We could, for the same money, explore 100 times the amount of our SS with robots rather than with humans.

Candidate for Signature of the Week, regarding risk and exploration...

Quote:
"A ship is safe at harbor, but that isn't what ships were designed for. Sail out and try new things."
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper - Grandmother of today's computers.

Why Send Humans to Space?

Armstrong and Aldrin have both spoken eloquently on the value of human spaceflight as an addition to robotic exploration, and as for the inspirational factors, while Sputnik was certainly a stimulus, Gagarin, Tereshkova, Armstrong, and Aldrin are probably more admired.


The Florida Today article above cites a graphic tracking recent discoveries of humans vs robots, (although it predates both the MER Rovers and the Cassini Mission to Saturn which would now make the list) and I wouldn't disagree that the Hubble has probably done more to inspire than most LEO trips, but Hubble would still be out of focus if it weren't for human servicing.
I'm usually the first to post updates to my threads on Mars and Saturn exploration (huge fan of space science that I am), but much of that dream is built around joining that club in person, not just sending probes.

Don't just take NASA's work for it... see also the French view

Also... the image that arguably kick started the environment movement and woke millions of blue planet dwellers up to the fragile and fantastic wonder of our place in the universe wasn't taken by a droid, it was snapped by Lovell, Borman and Anders of Apollo 8.


Ad Luna, Ad Ares, Ad Astra
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #15 of 58
I've heard the shuttle still uses 5.25" floppy drives, so yes, it belongs in a museum.

There was a previous thread that mentioned the candidates for the next shuttle. 25 years for a space shuttle is just too long. Technology is advancing way too rapidly for that.

The next fleet should be mandated for 7 years of use, with the next generation on the drawing boards as the new fleet is launched.
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post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by Frank777
I've heard the shuttle still uses 5.25" floppy drives, so yes, it belongs in a museum.

I've been watching NASA TV in the days leading up to the launch today, and there was an interesting program on there. This guy from NASA led viewers through the step by step jist of the entire mission.

He mentioned that people always ask, "Why use such old computers on the shuttle?" His reply was basically "because we know they'll work flawlessly."

He continued: "With all due respect to Mr. Gates and his company, you don't want to have to hit Control + Alt + Delete in the middle of a launch."

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post #17 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Splinemodel
No kidding. Nasa and many private companies are doing a lot of work with non-chemical propulsion. Ultimately, the one that will win is electrostatic propulsion (assumed to be gravity drive), but there's a lot of science that needs to happen first, and presumably a lot of energy research that needs to happen, since running electrostatic engines takes a lot of electricity.

On another note, I took a break from work at 10:30 to watch it go up. (I do actually live where it says I live. . . more or less.)

heh cool

well basically what we have is that okay, we've got all the newtonian physics down pat. launching stuff up fast and getting it to dock with the space station, tracking all that shit with computers and algorithms and stuff, sweet.

mars mission ~ we could do it in 10-20years with current propulsion technologies but i don't know, there's something in the quantum physics and fusion realm that i sense needs to be cracked to really do mars and beyond manned missions without spending trillions of dollars. and you really need next gen propulsion to not be so dependent on launch windows.

definitely next gen propulsion that hits 0.01% of the speed of light would be sweet. just 55 days to the sun :thumbs:

as i mentioned somewhere here months ago, and some Ainsiders contributed, we are way too far down the curve for any sort of 'moore's law for space travel' to kick in yet.

anyway, dug up my propulsion calculations:

speed of light is 292,792 kilometres per second

the space shuttle's on-orbit speed is about 8 kilometres per second.
Thats about 0.002% light speed

at light speed, 8 minutes from here to the Sun
10% light speed, 1 hour 20 minutes from here to the Sun
1% light speed, 13 or so hours from here to the Sun
0.1% light speed, 5 or so days from here to the Sun
0.01% light speed, 55 or so days from here to the Sun
0.001% light speed, 550 or so days from here to the Sun
0.0001% light speed, 15 years from here to the Sun

this 'theoretical' technology says it could make a probe reach 60 kilometres per second. That's about 0.02% light speed
http://www.space.com/businesstechno...ail_050211.html

(edit: link appears to be down now. maybe the US government in cahoots with the aliens didn't want that technology out yet )

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post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
heh cool

this 'theoretical' technology says it could make a probe reach 60 kilometres per second. That's about 0.02% light speed
http://www.space.com/businesstechno...ail_050211.html


Ion drives should be able to get faster than that, athough the acceleration is weak, so I'm not sure what the average speed is.
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post #19 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Splinemodel
Ion drives should be able to get faster than that, athough the acceleration is weak, so I'm not sure what the average speed is.

yeah another thing for manned space travel around the solar system with next gen propulsion stuff:

time to invent those inertial-damper things we've been watching and reading about for quite some time
post #20 of 58
Well, that was short-lived. The shuttle program is grounded once again due to problems with the foam insulation. Fortunately Discovery's crew is not in harms way -- it seems -- but future crews could be with things the way they still are.
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post #21 of 58
No-one ever suspects...... the space elevator!
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post #22 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
No-one ever suspects...... the space elevator!

heh. arthur c. clarke is bloody OBSESSED with space elevators.
(space odyssey 3000), ummm... another book as well...
post #23 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
Well, that was short-lived. The shuttle program is grounded once again due to problems with the foam insulation. Fortunately Discovery's crew is not in harms way -- it seems -- but future crews could be with things the way they still are.

holy crap cosmoNut i just got your nickname. damn. too much partying. i used to be smart. or at least i used to think i was smart. waitaminute, maybe i'm smarter now because...

AH NEVERMIND.

okay, well this is bewildering and dissapointing news, but overall i think this is good.

FUCK THE SHUTTLE. game over. time to put their 4 (??) remaining orbiters in the museum.

I just wish godspeed and all the best to the crew, hope they return safely to earth. Man will one day walk among the stars, but for now, I think the message is we need a bit of housekeeping to do first :=
post #24 of 58
Thread Starter 
The agency spent about $1.5 billion on modifications after the loss of Columbia, with most of the work focused on the fuel tank. Officials said they were confident that the tank was safe to fly.

''You have to admit when you're wrong. We were wrong,'' Parsons said. ``We're telling you right now, it should not have come off. It did come off. We have to do something about that.''


this is where i be a smartass dick and say, I wonder what Burt Rutan would have done with the $1.5 billion?

i sincerely hope our brave astronauts make it back to earth safely. they're just poor bloody lab rats working for government scale salary \
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
this is where i be a smartass dick and say, I wonder what Burt Rutan would have done with the $1.5 billion?

Rutan would have a summer place on Mars for that kind of money.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #26 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Rutan would have a summer place on Mars for that kind of money.

heh. aint that the truth
post #27 of 58
Isnt that the truth, folks should check out the tSpace home page to see some of their next idea's. As it was said for the 1.5 billion they pumped into shuttle Rhutan would have us a vehicle that could go to the moon and back. This is the U.S. philosophy. Why soak the govt for millions when they can soak the tax payers for billions? How hard can it be to pop a capsule on a rocket? they were doing it in the 60s yet its going to take Nasa and its beauracratic paper makers until the year 2014 to build a rocket ?? we need a replacement for NASA and its papermaking ways with someone who builds real rockets and not more paper. Bring on tSpace and lets stop the low orbits no science loops and lets start exploring. They have been studying folks in space now for 30 years its time to move on with the technology.
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post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
. . .This is the U.S. philosophy. Why soak the govt for millions when they can soak the tax payers for billions? . . .

The biggest problem with NASA is that the engineers designing stuff aren't great engineers, there are a lot of them, and the giant corporations they work for aren't really interested in progress.

There are several around the corner from my office. . . Rockwell, Harris, Northrop Grumman. . . I haven't been impressed by their personnel or their "TPS-heavy" workflow.
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post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by Splinemodel
The biggest problem with NASA is that the engineers designing stuff aren't great engineers, there are a lot of them, and the giant corporations they work for aren't really interested in progress.

There are several around the corner from my office. . . Rockwell, Harris, Northrop Grumman. . . I haven't been impressed by their personnel or their "TPS-heavy" workflow.

Big Business combined with Govt have taken innovation out of the picture. Shuttle should have been replaced as soon as they found out it was costing 100 times what it was suppose to. When companies like Rockwell or Northrop or Boeing look at space projects they see $$$. When someone like Rhutan looks at space projects he sees Space Exploration.
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post #30 of 58
post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Put the frelling shuttle in a museum -- that's where they belong. And do it quick before more people get killed.


It is the astronaut's choice so don't speak for them.
Hard-Core.
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post #32 of 58
Stupidity of Wasington journal viewers:

"They should stop the program. Its excessive spending. I mean, strapping on a 100.000 dollar camera on the fuel tank that isn´t reused"

"The foam problem, I have a solution. Just use double stick dutch tape"
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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post #33 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
Stupidity of Wasington journal viewers:

"They should stop the program. Its excessive spending. I mean, strapping on a 100.000 dollar camera on the fuel tank that isn´t reused"

"The foam problem, I have a solution. Just use double stick dutch tape"

idiotic comments, indeed.
however, i did realise during watching the live launch broadcast that it was a bit weird. a lot of the shuttle program was 'newer safety measures', and what i believe to be an excessive (100+) amount of cameras just to monitor the launch.

including this dude in this bigass vehicle thing with double scopes for watching the launch, that looked like it came out of a japanese manga. it was pretty slick, but you can bet your ass one of those TPS-heavy military-industrial-aerospace contractors fucked NASA good to build one (or more!) of those...

i have long been a fan of NASA, in fact one of the astronauts on this mission (Andy Thomas) did his first degree at my alma mater, University of Queensland Australia......

but, in recent years, i dunno, something ain't jiving... i would strongly encourage all american taxpayers (I WAS one during 2000 and 2001 and 2002 years) to put an end to this rubbish. honestly. something is not right.
post #34 of 58
Days later we learn that crap is still falling off, stuff has come out of shuttle seams, tiles with slight damage,,,,,,,Its a big old fashion space tug that still can only make low orbit. Nasa needs to get out of building rockets and let tSpace do it better,cheaper and safer. Lets just face it the American Tax Payer was screwed,is getting screwed and will continue to get screwed with this Shuttle.
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post #35 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Days later we learn that crap is still falling off, stuff has come out of shuttle seams, tiles with slight damage,,,,,,,Its a big old fashion space tug that still can only make low orbit. Nasa needs to get out of building rockets and let tSpace do it better,cheaper and safer. Lets just face it the American Tax Payer was screwed,is getting screwed and will continue to get screwed with this Shuttle.

damn dude... that sucks huh... it just keeps getting better
so the point of this mission was to test if the shuttle is safe, which it is not, and to test safety repair procedures, which they may not be able to do because they may not be able to 'risk' a spacewalk, and also the purpose of this mission was to be able to document the launch, which shows it's all back to the drawing board
WTF

i think this particular journalist was adding salt to the wound

"August 1, 2005

BY MARTIN MERZER
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

Two scraps of insulation dangling from shuttle Discovery's fuselage could pose a danger to the crew and might have to be removed or poked back into place during a spacewalk, mission managers said Sunday....."

if/when aliens invade we are going to be royally FUCKED.
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
if/when aliens invade we are going to be royally FUCKED.


Hard-Core.
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Hard-Core.
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post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by aplnub

No shit the best we can do is jets\ It doesnt give me much confidence looking at Govt's Space Program,,,,yeah its a little better then most but using a 25 year old killing machine that still doesnt work,,,,,,,after countless billions and retrys??? We need new thinking and it aint going to come out of Pork Barrel Politicians mixed with Space. Why is it so hard for NASA? Its a bloated agency ran by programs created by your favorite Congressman in his home state. Who cares if it flys? This has to be removed with the "IDEA" of exploring SPACE.
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post #38 of 58
By the way MSNBC is showing live Gyroscope installation at the moment. Sometimes it pays to have a PC & Mac
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post #39 of 58
Thread Starter 
interesting opinion piece in Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/edi...ure_of_vision/
post #40 of 58
Thread Starter 
BTW, Virgin Galactic is/was considering building a SPACEPORT in my home country of Malaysistan... (near the equator, so that is good stuff for launches and all that) Malaysistan is also near Singapore, has a bigass airport (KL International) so if the local government got wise space tourism could be big.

Is it just me or a commerical "Spaceport" sounds cool. Because in RTS games whenever you got one of those you had some killer tech and you felt proud that you got that far in the game to really start to kick some ass. Ref: Dune2, for example.


Anyway, here is an interesting article on our 5-year WTF to do with the bloody shuttle? Current mission notwithstanding, something that has a almost 2% failure rate

Basically it's the bloody international space station that's the pain in the ass now for NASA. and sounds like they can't hack/mod Russian tech to get the parts up there to finish it...

Get this part of the article though... anybody feel like spending up to 1/3 of a trillion govt. dollars?
"...NASA's formal plan to return astronauts to the moon and then on to Mars will be unveiled in a few weeks. One version, leaked to the Orlando Sentinel, shows the space agency spending more than $200 billion over the next 20 years. It would use modified shuttle rocket boosters with small capsules attached for the crew, which would hook up with unmanned ships riding larger rockets on the way to the moon....."





"
Space shuttle future creates quandary for NASA

By SETH BORENSTEIN

Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Owners of older cars wrestle with this choice: Spend more money on repairs and nurse their beloved old vehicles along for a few more years, or swallow hard and buy something new - and better.

NASA is near that point with the space shuttle.

Construction started on NASA's three remaining shuttles in 1979, 1980 and 1982. The basic shuttle design dates back to 1969, making it older than four astronauts who hope to ride aboard.

Now with Discovery's latest flight, not only has the nation's space agency found that it hasn't completely solved the shedding-foam problem that doomed Columbia two years ago, but it's also got some impromptu repairs to do in space. Wednesday an astronaut will take an emergency spacewalk to try to remove or clip some cloth filler that's jutting between two tiles on the ship's belly, lest it catch fire on re-entry and endanger the flight.

That's got some people - including a former astronaut - wondering if the shuttle should be put out to cosmic pasture sooner than NASA's planned 2010 retirement. Then, they say, the nation can move ahead on President Bush's ambitious agenda to fly astronauts back to the moon by 2020 and on to Mars in a new spaceship.

"If it were up to me, I probably wouldn't fly the shuttle again," said astronomer and former astronaut George "Pinky" Nelson, who flew on Discovery after the Challenger accident. "They're 10 years behind already. We're going to have to bite the bullet ... and somehow keep the agency viable."

But that's not so easy.

One big complication, filled with international intrigue and a price tag of many billions of dollars, especially gums up decision-making: the international space station. The United States has committed to complete construction of the half-built orbital complex, which is a partnership of 16 countries. Japan and the European Space Agency have built and paid for new station additions that are ready or near ready to launch.

Only the shuttle can take them up.

NASA already has spent $21.4 billion on space-station hardware, not including nearly a billion dollars for each of the 16 shuttle launches flown so far to build the seven-year-old complex. NASA has scheduled 24 more shuttle launches to complete the station's construction. The bulk of the European Space Agency's multibillion-dollar station components are supposed to start launching next year.

"We need it (the shuttle) for a few more years," said former NASA Administrator James Beggs. "We have commitments to our foreign partners to finish up what we started."

That's what's keeping the shuttle alive, said American University professor Howard McCurdy, who has written several books on NASA. "Without the space station, we'd roll those things into the Dulles annex (of the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum) right away."

John Logsdon, space policy director at George Washington University and a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, said the space station is "a perfectly fine half-built facility. Do you just walk away from it?"

Then there's another problem. Building the shuttle's replacement is at least five years away.

Deciding what to do with the shuttle is "clearly one of the existential crises of the agency," Logsdon said. "Because it (NASA) has this exciting future, but it can't get to it without solving this issue."

To be sure, the shuttle has its defenders.

The shuttle "is probably the greatest spaceship that man has ever made," said NASA's legendary former manned spaceflight chief Chris Kraft, who oversaw the shuttle design as well as the Apollo lunar missions. "The space shuttle has taken a bad rap."

NASA plans to fly its three shuttles until the space station is finished, then retire them in 2010. That year or the next, NASA would test-fly a new crew vehicle and kick Bush's space-exploration plan into gear.

NASA's formal plan to return astronauts to the moon and then on to Mars will be unveiled in a few weeks. One version, leaked to the Orlando Sentinel, shows the space agency spending more than $200 billion over the next 20 years. It would use modified shuttle rocket boosters with small capsules attached for the crew, which would hook up with unmanned ships riding larger rockets on the way to the moon.

For now, officially, the space agency is "not looking to change any of the plans we have in place," said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel. "Retirement of the shuttle is still five years from now."

But that would require the shuttles to fly reliably for the next five years. And Discovery's problems this week - and how NASA deals with them - leave the shuttle program's fate in the hands of astronaut Steve Robinson and his spacewalk repairs.

"Now it seems to be that the vehicle performance is driving the movement toward ending the era," said Valerie Neal, a space-history curator at the Smithsonian. "A lot of people are saying we're at that (retirement) point; my guess is that it's all going to hinge on how this mission turns out. We really are at a pivot point right now."

There's less tile damage on this flight than previous missions, but because that's what downed Columbia, there's a lot more scrutiny that brings problems to light. That makes decisions about what to do next a lot tougher, said Carnegie Mellon University decision-science professor Paul Fischbeck.

NASA says it can keep flying the shuttle at a few billion dollars a year even as it develops the shuttle's replacement using other funds.

But NASA's spending history proves otherwise, said American University's McCurdy. Like an old car, keeping the space shuttle in working order so it can keep going is eating into the down payment for its replacement.

"The longer NASA spends money on the shuttle, the less money it has on the launcher for the crew-exploration vehicle," McCurdy said. "Except for the international commitment, and we've got an asset that is on its way to weighing a million pounds in orbit, it's time to move on."
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