Have We Seen The Last Shuttle Launch Already?

Maybe. I’d like to call in on the phone bridge to today’s press conference with Gerstenmaier and Shannon, but I don’t have a center press credential. I’m hoping that someone, perhaps Oberg, will ask what should be the obvious question today — what are the program consequences of shutting the system down now? It seems to me that the only reason that they wanted three more flights is to preserve the jobs as long as possible, and the only real lost capability will be AMS, which they could perhaps put up on something else (e.g., Falcon 9, if a Dragon were in place to tug it to ISS). Of course, as I noted over at Space Politics, Nelson et al don’t really care whether the Shuttle actually flies or not, as long as they keep spending the money. But it’s gong to look like a ripe place to cut.

15 thoughts on “Have We Seen The Last Shuttle Launch Already?”

  1. Nothing really new there. Wayne Hale certainly has the measure of the situation. Switching to the next tank isn’t a better solution; it’s just another tank (and yep, they ain’t making more). One more thing to throw into the mix, if Congress doesn’t pass (and Obama sign) a funding bill prior to the completion of STS-134; then there is also no third (STS-135/AMS) flight.

  2. It was really disappointing see the this latest shuttle launch have so many problems.

    A side effect is that the gap grows shorter.

  3. This clearly shows the system fragility of the shuttle approach even if shutting down production is only an end of life issue. Things during production might have occurred to highlight the issue as well.

    Free enterprise in competition is the antithesis of this and it’s about time.

  4. A robust EELV industrial base is better for national security than a SDHLV. You can’t have both, so why is Congress trying to hurt national security?

    See what I did there? 🙂

  5. See what I did there?

    Yeah, you failed to realize that Congress is willing to bet several billion dollars that they can have both. Indeed, they have made that bet for a decade now.

  6. I still don’t understand what you meant. And I wasn’t accusing you of hypocrisy, just trying to make a little joke and probably failing.

  7. Waterhouse Says:

    January 11th, 2011 at 1:54 pm
    At the presser today NASA sounded pretty optimistic that they had this latest issue figured out .

    Knowing that this is the same NASA that thought cold temperatures wouldn’t affect the SRBs or that a foam strike couldn’t possibly do any damage to the heat shield tiles, I’m not exactly overwhelmed by their optimism.

    I wonder, are they actually listening to their engineers this time or is management once again hand-waving away their concerns? Why should they (management) care? If the worst happens, some of them will be transferred and others allowed to retire. It’s not like they’ll be held personally responsible or anything.

  8. MPM and Trent, I thought both of your comments were funny (and didn’t see MPM’s comment as criticism of Trent at all.)

  9. I’m worried that a bad batch of “certified” aluminum will compromise the structural integrity of the ET. Swap out LWT ET-122 and go with a minimum crew so Soyuz emergency return is viable.

    Remember about the bad batch of “certified” titanium used on MSR…

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