Skip to comments.NASA plans to park space shuttle Atlantis in 2008
Posted on 02/17/2006 7:35:54 PM PST by NormsRevenge
With just 17 or so flights left on the shuttle manifest before the program is terminated in 2010, NASA's three remaining orbiters can only expect to fly about five missions each. As it turns out, NASA now plans to retire Atlantis in 2008, after five flights, rather than put it through a required overhaul and to "fly out" the remaining half-dozen missions on the manifest with Discovery and Endeavour.
But shuttle program manager Wayne Hale told Kennedy Space Center employees today that Atlantis will not be given to a museum, at least not right away. Instead, the space shuttle will be used for spare parts to help keep Discovery and Endeavour healthy through the end of the program.
"Atlantis will be coming due for an OMDP (orbiter maintenance down period) in the '08 time frame," Hale said. "And we looked the manifest and laid it out and we believe we can fly the '08, '09 and '10 time frame with Discovery and Endeavour.
"Discovery just came out of OMDP and Endeavour is just about to come out of OMDP. So it looks like the right thing to do is not to put Atlantis through another OMDP, which would get it ready to go fly maybe just at the very end, in 2010, but rather use it was a parts donor, if that's the word, for the other vehicles.
"So we're going to try to keep it in as near flight ready condition as we can without putting it through an OMDP so we can use those parts," Hale said. "Quite frankly, people are already calling us and asking us can they display one of our orbiters in their museum after we're done with it. I'm not giving anybody anything until we're all agreed the station is complete and the shuttle's job is done. In the sense that we're talking about mothballing, I'm not sure that's the term I'd use."
All shuttles are required to undergo periodic inspections and modifications to maintain their overall health. Such OMDP overhauls can take a year or more to complete.
First flown in 1985, shuttle Atlantis is expected to be retired from service in 2008. Credit: NASA
Is that really being lifted by a crane? Wow!
Seems like yesterday sometimes we watched in awe as Columbia ushered in the Shuttle era in 1981.
People have grown up now their whole lives with America flying shuttles.
She still fills me with awe, I have always thought the shuttle stack looks cathedral-like on the pad.
Time for shuttle to finish her work and move on to the next vehicles, as ugly and boring as the CEV looks, it will take us much farther in more ways then one.
I hope we will see more winged spacecraft from private industry. There is a beauty to machines with wings.
Every so often we had to take all the parts off of one aircraft, put them on the Queen, and get the wheels off the ground so it could maintain a mission capable status. Then take all the parts back off, and there she'd sit till next time.
So Atlantis is going to be a Queen. Sad.
I think it's possible the remaining flights of the shuttles will be cut back quite a bit. If possible, some private launch companies could try to fill in the gap. I think Griffin would like to do this and terminate shuttle operations as soon as possible.
Yup. That's how they mate a shuttle to the external tank and the solid boosters.
Kids need inspiration, I guess... as in melodrama.
Well said Ash (Housewares).
Astronauts build space stations, deploy space telescopes and probes to other worlds too. They spacewalk as well and have rescued Hubble more then once. They ride the fire into orbit and come back home at Mach 24. I would trade places with them on launch day in a New York minute.
It still fuels passion in people. Very much so.
If I recall correctly, the shuttles were but one part of a comprehensive system for our conquest of space. They were to be the short-haul 'trucks' for the building, and servicing, of a real space station. This space station was to be an orbitting factory to build the real exploration and colonization spacecraft.
It is too bad this system was never seen through. We would probably be launching colonization missions to mars by now.
That's "space station", singular. The station also does such things as breeding worms, and other things so important that most people who follow the news can't name a single example.
"deploy space telescopes and probes to other worlds too. They spacewalk as well and have rescued Hubble more then once."
There could have been several new "Hubbles" for the cost of the shuttle, only abandoning the first failure. In any case, rockets do the job - and without killing as many government workers whose annoying families we now have to compensate.
"They ride the fire into orbit and come back home at Mach 24."
Very, very true.... Pointless, but true!
"I would trade places with them on launch day in a New York minute."
I, too, would screw taxpayers in order to joyride if I could -- I just need to invent some excuses, the way that NASA does.
Actually, you're referring to the "Cann Bird." The Hangar Queen is the aircraft that has been sitting for longer than 30 days, usually as a result of being the Cann Bird. By the way, getting a Hangar Queen is usually a black mark on any aircraft maintenance officer or Chief's record, as it indicates poor fleet management.
However, you are right, Atlantis' destiny is to end its days as the NASA Hangar Queen....truly sad.
I agree. It should kill NASA's manned program for good. Sadly, it's probably going to take a chunk of NASA's good programs with it.
I hope we will see more winged spacecraft from private industry. There is a beauty to machines with wings.
I hope so, and maybe what's left of NASA can hire them as needed.
And astronauts bring back the visions of space, they bring back what its like to see our earth as an outsider. They bring back what its like to be a child of earth. To see our world as it truly is, an oasis in a vast black expanse.
They take human presence beyond our world. No machine can do this.
They teach us that the sky is not the limit, that there ARE no limits.
They keep an AMERICAN presense in space. If we dont. Someone else will certainly take the lead. China is seeking the high ground now.
There are reasons why this nation is where it is today.
Reasons why any of us are here at all. Brave people took the risks and went beyond the horizon. They did so on ships they knew may not return and on imperfect wings.
Astronaut Story Musgrave.....
"We have been a frontier culture. We were born out of exploration, we were born out of adventure. We were born out of the plains and the mountains. We've been a very physical kind of culture. And so, if you look at adventure, if you look at exploration, if you look at immersion in nature, a physical culture, and all those things, you can see directly how space flight relates to the way America has been born and how it evolved."
"You have to keep pushing the frontier not
just because it's there, but because that's how we find things that end up changing humanity," -Paul Hill, Mission Control
Why Space, Why Explore?
Astronaut Story Musgrave...........
We have no choice, Sir. It is the Nature of Humanity, it is the Nature of Life
The Globe was created and Life Evolved, and you look at every single cubic millimeter on this Earth, You can go 30,000 feet down below the Earth surface, You can go 40,000 feet up in the air and Life is There. When you look at the globe down there, you see Teeming Life Everywhere
It is the Power of Life, And maybe I am not just a Human up here, you know. Now Life is Leaping off the Planet. It is heading to other parts of the Solar System, other parts of the Universe
There are those kinds of Pressures. It isn't simply politics, it is not simply technology, it is really not just the essence of humanity, but it is sort of also, you could look at it as maybe the Essence of Life. I think Teilhard de Chardin, in Phenomenon of Man, I believe he put that incredibly well. So those kind of Forces are at Work. It is the nature of humans to be exploratory and to Push On
Yes, it costs resources and it does cost a lot, and there is a risk, there is a penalty, there is a down side, but Exploration and Pioneering, I think those are the critical things, it is the Essence of what Human Beings are, and that is to try to understand their Universe and to try to participate in the entire Universe and not just their little Neighborhood -Story Musgrave
One of my most convincing arguments for space exploration is the
analogy that Earth itself is a spacecraft. Everything we learn about
how to function and live in space applies directly to our spacehip
Earth. How to recycle air, water, how to generate and use power
efficiently, how to grow food in closed ecosystems. All of it is
important. All of this can benefit mankind in a world with a fast
growing population. Understanding other worlds is
how we understand OUR world better, to understand
how it formed and where it is going. Its our only home for now.
"We must not cease from exploration, and at the end of all our
exploring will be to arrive where we began, and to know it for the
President Bush at the Columbia memorial at JSC................
"The cause of exploration and discovery is not an option we choose, It
is a desire written in the human heart."
And at the announcement of new American space policy...........
"Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once
drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea. We choose to explore
space because doing so improves our lives, and lifts our national
"More than three-fourths (77%) of the American public say they support a newplan for space exploration that would include a stepping-stone approach to returnthe space shuttle to flight, complete assembly of the space station, build areplacement for the shuttle, go back to the Moon and then on to Mars and beyond"
I just wish that robotic craft had been around in 1492...that way the Spanish royals could have sent a probe over to see what the New World looked like rather than sending humans. That certainly would have worked out better. /sarcasm off
Our Can Bird happened to be the Wing Commanders aircraft. Was POS it was. Weighed about 1000 lbs more than all the other planes because of all the paint jobs to keep it pretty. Had a chrome gun muzzle (A-10) and they would never let us put retread tires on it, only new ones with the white wheels. The crew chief was just like his bird, all spiffied up looking good, but not worth a bucket of warm spit.
Sorry. Back on topic now....
Luckily we have robots in 2006, and those risks are not necessary. The Spanish may have used them too, if they had them, which says nothing of their sponsoring a trip without robots as was actually done.
Now you may suggest that I don't recognize sarcasm, or that yours was so overpowering that I should have relented and stop using logic because I lack your (non-) humor.
Where was this...and do you recall the jet's tail number? I was involved with A-10s earlier in my career...
Crap, I hope you weren't the crew chief I just dumped on. :o I don't even remember what he looked like. Just the shiny boots and pressed uniform. LOL
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