Friday, July 8, 2011

STS 135 Shuttle

From my home base here in Orlando, it's a short hour drive to the edge of the Kennedy Space Center grounds and the open viewing areas of pad 39 and the VAB. So, that's what I did this morning: a quick hour's drive, and then me and a million of my closest friends waited on the river's edge for an on-time launch (has that ever happened before?)

In any event, it was awesome and perplexing at the same time as a great program comes to a successful conclusion after 30 years launching (and relaunching) the most complex vehicle ever built by anyone. (Don't let'em tell you that complexity can not be conquered by a little skill and science)

And why exactly did the program end with five serviceable vehicles and an operational destination to go to every couple of months? I have no idea, and I doubt it's really money. Hopefully, manned space will press on from here as it did when the shuttle replaced Apollo.

And, haven't we been hearing there's a need for technical talent in this country; that's we not graduating enough, and not retaining trained immigrants?  Well, here's a technical workforce with numbers in the thousands.  Hopefully, we don't toss it away.

Photo: NASA

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2 comments:

  1. The July 7th issue of Nature has an article titled "NASA faces dearth of mission leaders," page 15-16.

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  2. Glen: thanks for the point to Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v475/n7354/full/475006a.html

    See also a more lengthy article in The Economist that says about the same thing: poor value, but great drama. http://www.economist.com/node/18895018

    My own view is that is more a matter of imagination and vision than any technical or monetary issue. The shuttle was originally to be a 'transportation system'. When I worked in the overhead community, we worked hard with NASA on our requirements until an executive order from the White House separated the shuttle from the military. Oh well!

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