View Full Version : Space Shuttle to be repaired, where's the Accountability

08-02-2005, 10:15 PM
In what NASA says will require "a delicate touch" the shuttle Discovery will undergo repairs to remove a protruding piece of filler material between the Discovery's protective heat tiles. This will be the first time a repair like this has been attempted in space and while unknown if the piece poses a threat to the orbiter NASA isn't taking any chances.

This raises the question at least for me, why aren't we building a new vehicle for space travel? For the last two years NASA has worked to ensure no piece of insulation falls off the fuel tank that could cause damage to the shuttle and that the heat tiles aren't compromised. So what happens a piece falls off and the tiles are compromised, NASA's excuse was they didn't check that area because they didn't think it was critical, guess what they'll be looking at that part of the fuel tank next time I assure you. As for the tiles I don't recall seeing anything from NASA on why they think that happened.....

The biggest problem I see with NASA and our space program is its a not for profit organization. People say their desire for success is exploration and I'm 100% sure that is the case but where is the accountability? Could you imagine being a stockholder in NASA right now if they were a public company? I'd be dumping my stock faster then a fat kid on a cupcake. There is no reason with the exception of Governmental bull**** that our space program shouldn't be fifty years ahead of where it is now. If this keeps up I say take the money and give it to private entrepreneurs like Burt Rutan through public grants. Lets give private industry a chance to see if they can reach the stars.

All I can say is God speed on Discovery’s safe return to Earth.

08-03-2005, 11:15 AM
I can definately agree that Burt Rutan has done some absolutely incredable stuff and I think the private space industry is going to be the future of space travel. NASA needs work. A hell of a lot of work. But don't forget, NASA isnt all space travel. They fund hundreds of other experiments and programs that study various things on earth and in space. Getting rid of NASA entirely would be stupid. But things about the way it works definately need to be changed.

I dont think that this reapair was even necessary. Chances are, things like this probably happened all the time on other missions in the past, and went unnoticed. Such debris just burns up upon reentry, posing no threat to the heat shield. But because of all the worries, everything is getting extra attention. NASA now has obsessive compulsive disorder, and if they dont get rid of it they will choke up on all the little things and squander away millions.

And they are designing a new vehicle, which is definately the right thing to do. The sooner the shuttle is retired, the better. I read about it in the New York Times yesterday. They plan to go back to the "Old School" meathod of space travel, putting payloads on top of the rockets, therefore eliminating any threat from falling foam. The best part is, they will be made with existing shuttle parts and contracts, therefore eliminating most of the expenses form the design and test phase. Here's the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/02/science/space/02nasa.html?

What we really need is more Richard Bransons and Paul Allens in the world who are ready to give up millions to advance this industry. NASA should definately do its part to help these companies along also, by awarding contracts to build other vehicles and things.

08-03-2005, 11:24 AM
I agree that this "repair" was not very necessary. I wouldn't call it obsessive compulsive disorder on their part, it's "Making all the annoying bureaucrats pleased in case the **** hits the fan" syndrome. NASA had no choice and would have faced so much slack had they not done it. God forbid an accident happened and we didn't "repair" it, we wouldn't have anyone in space for the next decade.

08-03-2005, 12:21 PM
This is just another example of the media just waiting for something to go wrong, waiting for someone to die so they all have something to report and someone to point fingers at. These days they are exceptionally good at sticking their noses into everything having no knowledge of how anything works. The space program is the most dangerous risky sort of "exploration" out there. There is no standard. Every time the shuttle breaks free of the earth's atmosphere all on board are risking their lives. They all know that. And WE all know that. Why pretend this isn't the case. You either spend a billion dollars going into space or you don't. There is no in-between. The only difference now is that NASA is under the microscope more than ever before. They obviously have problems, but I'm sure everyone there wants the crew to return home safely. Managing the shuttle mission has to be one of the coolest jobs there is. I'd hate to be those guys right now.

08-03-2005, 12:30 PM
You're right proton. It's really about the media being the "armchair everything". If something goes wrong or has the potential to go wrong, they will over hype it for their benefit, and say what SHOULD be done when they actually are no authority on the matter. They think that they know what's best because a field reporter did a Lexus Nexus search or something.

Not to mention that they only do it to promote the news stories. It's a greed thing.

As for the entire space program, I just wonder if entrepreneurship is the way to go. When you deal with space and give businesses such freedom with technology, I think there are risks associated with it an that there should be heavy government regulation and monitoring to make sure that things are safe and legit.

We don't want spacecraft falling down in residential neighborhoods, or spy satellites to be launched in some private espionage plot or something.