Shuttle Chicken


40 Responses to “Shuttle Chicken”

  1. Jeff Sepeta says:

    Shouldn’t they just retrofit them so we can keep using the shuttles for important tasks, like clearing debris out of the path of working satellites?

    • Tim Bailey says:

      What do you mean “retrofit” them?  Even if you meant “automate” them to work without a crew, they would still need 15,000+ people to maintain and launch them (actual #s, not an exaggeration or overestimation).

      It is MUCH cheaper just to build and launch a new satellite–or give every satellite a bit more propellant to move away from incoming debris.

      NASA is also funding the development of new spacecraft to take astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station and beyond.  These new vehicles will be cheaper to operate and could do any of the tasks you’re described!

  2. moop2000 says:

    Can we get a link to the original photo?

  3. It’s off the Reuters Wire; can’t seem to find it at NASA yet:

  4. cmdrfire says:

    I hate seeing the Orbiters without their OMS. They look… naked, somehow. Very, very, sadly stripped.

    @jsepeta:twitter, it’s not a question of a refit or update (I believe the most recent refits occured in 2005) – it’s to do with the economics of spaceflight through the use of the Shuttle. What with wars and debts to pay for, at US$1bn a launch it was something easily cuttable.

    Having said that, while superbly brilliant machines, they were tragically and inherently flawed due to compromises in the design period, and it is right to retire them. They didn’t lift enough, and didn’t reduce the cost enough, to be worthwhile.

    What’s crazy though, is closing down the programme with no clear successor in progress. When Saturn/Apollo stopped flying, work was well underway on the STS. Now there’s just… some vague idea that we want a (cheap) super-heavy-lift, but nothing too concrete.

    • Max says:

      “we want a (cheap) super-heavy-lift, but nothing too concrete”

      I agree. Concrete, whilst cheap, would make a terrible choice of material for building space going vehicles.
      Some sort of strong lightweight material would probably be better… Maybe titanium or aluminium or even good old steel…

      ;-)  (sorry)

    • digi_owl says:

      This because one group of politicians wants to continue the pork that the solid rocket boosters have been for their area, and another is going crazy over ROI. End result, a deadlock.

  5. Thanks! Updated the link

  6. OohErMissus says:

    Hrm.  So you’re telling me that they’re going to hang each of them on cranes, then smash them into each other until the more sturdy shuttle remains?   Shuttle Conkers, fantastic!

    At OPF-3, two shuttles enter, one shuttle leaves!

  7. Daniels says:

    wow…very nice picture and its my first visit here…going to visit back more frequently

  8. NelC says:

    Argh! Why does the paragraph keep changing? The first version says something about “epic smash joust”, but when I go to copy & paste it changes to something more staid.

    • Josh Burns says:

      I noticed that as well, the text changed when I hovered my mouse over it…

    • Josh Burns says:

      I managed to snag it for ya: “Space Shuttles Discovery and Endeavour face off outside Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) at the Kennedy Space Center in this NASA handout photo dated August 11, 2011. The two orbiters, following the agency’s final shuttle mission, are being readied for a ceremonial “epic smash joust” to provide a dignified send-off to the 30-year Space Transportation System program. Photo: NASA / Reuters”

    • Little John says:

      That’s a bit of humor from that wacky joker Rob. Turn off JavaScript to disable the on-hover behavior. Make your copy/screen-grab/whatever, then turn JS back on again to access comments.

  9. Alanwordguy says:

    OK so who has right of way here? Is it the one to the right, or the first to arrive? I think a traffic light would help at this intersection.

  10. cjporkchop says:

    Bravo to Rob for making me doubt my sanity for a moment. I don’t do that nearly enough.

  11. bcsizemo says:

    Why do I keep hearing Micheal Dorn saying, “Perhaps, today is a good day to die!”…

  12. Ari B. says:

    Two shuttles enter, one shuttle leaves…

  13. benher says:

    Am I missing the dignity part? Does this stem back to some maritime tradition of which I am humorlessly unaware?

  14. Hanglyman says:

    While I can understand not wanting or being able to actually use the shuttles again, why smash them up? You’d think there are a couple museums somewhere who’d be happy to take them.

  15. styrofoam says:

    Smashing them into each other will help understand the limits of the structural integrity, and uncover to uncover any weaknesses.  Since they should be built to identical specifications, the first shuttle to fracture will obviously have suffered some unknown damage during a previous spaceflight.  Rebuilding the shuttles afterwards will help us determine what caused the fatigue, and prevent it from occurring in the future space program.

    It’s all about common sense, really.

  16. Halloween Jack says:

    If it included Wil Wheaton standing on one, and Neil Patrick Harris on the other, both wailing on guitars (and equipped with safety harnesses and ziplines, of course, because I like them), I’d buy a ticket.

  17. CountZero says:

    There is a shuttle in operation, and it’s already performed a week long orbital mission. The fact its orbit carried it over North Korea and Afghanistan should give some clues about who its biggest customer is going to be.

    • digi_owl says:

      There is a certain claim that the shuttle design got compromised because US military wanted it capable of refitting a spy sat in orbit.

  18. There is something incredibly poignant about seeing these magnificent machines that have orbited the planet so many times, visited space stations, sailed through the aurora’s ( both austrailus and borealis )  being towed through a parking lot. Know what I mean?

  19. Joe inMA says:

    If NASA ran shuttle chicken as a pay per view event, maybe they could fund the next generation vehicle. :P

  20. DewiMorgan says:

    Nicely done! *Loved* the jousting idea ;)

  21. MDwebguy says:

    From the newly released book, “When NASA Lost its Funding, the Engineers Quickly Became Bored,” from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing.

  22. unit_1421 says:

    I think NASA should set them both on fire and say “Fuck the tea baggers, give us a real budget.”

  23. robcat2075 says:

     “What’s crazy though, is closing down the programme with no clear successor in progress.”

    That no clear successor is in progress might be a sign of how unimportant a man-in-space capability really is.  Most of the great science has been done by unmanned devices, going farther and longer than any human could be sent.

    • mccrum says:

      “Most of the great science has been done by unmanned devices, going farther and longer than any human could be sent”

      Science or photos?  I mean, we have rovers and satellites above Mars, what’s the deal with water there?  We’re going to just have to send someone in the end just for autonomy, the time lag is just too long to get the job done by robots.  I maintain that the principal benefit from human spaceflight is allowing humans to continue to define humanity and it’s achievements.

      “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not
      because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal
      will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.” – JFK

      • digi_owl says:

        Sadly the national technological oneupmanship have been passed to China and India. Thanks to the hardliner revolt and Yeltsin, Russia is as much, or more, anarchocapitalist as USA.

        The stock market runs USA now, and they do not care about blue sky research. If it can not show a upwards trend on the stock price within the net reporting quarter it is a dead duck and dumped.

  24. Phil says:

    @Rob – GREAT use of JavaScript hover. Couldn’t wait until next April 1, could ya?

    @robcat2075 – While it’s true that unmanned missions give us the most “science per dollar”, manned missions easily give us the most “engineering per dollar”. We need both.

  25. TharkLord says:

    What!?! You mean they’re not going to fire up the boosters and blast them into each other? Bummer. That would be a much more dignified way to go. You could fill the cargo bays with creationists and Texas School Board members and have a Viking funeral for the space program. Now they’ll just end up in some dorky museum somewhere, gathering dust while being gawked at by resentful teenagers.

    Odin! Accept this sacrifice of two mighty space shuttles and grant us the power of SCIENCE!!!

  26. Tariqa Mead says:

    Fight! Fight! Fight!

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