Shuttle Today

I suddenly remembered that the Shuttle is scheduled to take off today. The countdown is currently at T-3:00:00 and holding. Launch is to be at 6:36 PM ET.

If things work as advertised, the Shuttle will be able to draw power from the Space Station using the new Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS), allowing it to stay up for up to three extra days. The schedule is packed: STS-118: Build the Station. Build the Future.


  1. SSPTS, wow, what’s that, a long set of jumper cables? Sure sounds a lot more high tech if you give it a 5 initial acronym.

  2. While we F around sinking another billion dollars into another shuttle launch to service a dead end space station, look at what the Chinese are doing: China plans to survey all of the moon’s surface before eventually bringing bits of the planet back to Earth, state media reported Friday. ‘We would like to survey every inch of the moon’s surface,’ Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of the China’s moon exploration project, was quoted as saying on the website of Chinese News Service. Ouyang, speaking at a conference in southwestern China this week, said China’s lunar exploration programme was divided into three phases: orbiting the moon, landing on the lunar surface and coming back to Earth with samples. Does it sound to you like they plan on going to the Moon for the sake of their ‘national prestige?’ I’m thinking only we are stupid enough to do that. Only we would be so focused on beating the Russians that we forgot why winning the race to the Moon actually was important. Now we are decades away from being able to go back, and that’s an optimistic estimate. If the Chinese plans to destabilize the value of the dollar works out, they may be able to sabotage our plans even more effectively than the dumbass bureaucrats and asstronauts that run NASA have been able to do. Since the stock market has dropped a thousand points in the last week or so, my money’s on the Chinese right now, but one should never underestimate the stupidity of a bureaucrat or asstronaut.

  3. By the way, did you catch the editorial in last week’s Aviation Week regarding our space program? Here’s an excerpt: And why is NASA relying on shuttle manifests of questionable realism and a shoemaker’s-elves approach to resupply transport in the absence of the shuttle after 2010? Why has the agency slashed funding for ISS experimenters and put a for-rent-free sign on half of the experiment space it was to have used? And why has it poured billions of dollars into creating a world-class laboratory in low Earth orbit, only to walk away from exploiting it? The answer in each case is money. To proceed toward President Bush’s ‘vision’ of a return to the Moon and a potential mission to Mars, NASA has had to short-change the rest of its program, including space-launch capabilities, automated Earth-orbit and planetary missions and, by the way, aeronautics. Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), chairman of the House Science space and aeronautics subcommittee, summed up the situation well at a July 24 shuttle-ISS hearing. ‘We all understand that funding is tight, and that funding for ISS research has to compete with other NASA priorities,’ he said. ‘However, the nation has invested substantial funds over many years to develop and build [the ISS] . . . . It seems to me that we need to ensure that the nation gets an adequate return on that investment.’ It seems that way to us, too. In fact, to call NASA’s course shortsighted would be a gross understatement. Committing U.S. space resources to grandiose exploration projects in the comparatively distant future-which, not coincidentally, will require no truly big spending until after the Bush administration leaves office-doesn’t make sense unless NASA can preserve current and near-term work to capitalize on previous investments and painstakingly developed capabilities. If it doesn’t, George W. Bush will be remembered not as the visionary president who put the U.S. on course to Mars in the 2020s or 2030s, but as the bungler who wasted enormous opportunities in the 20-teens. We let the Russians talk us into putting the space station into an orbit that makes it useless for space exploration, then we suck all the research funding away from it so we can do what? That’s right, so we can do space exploration. In the mean time we continue to waste money building it’s useless hulk and resupplying the astronauts who have nothing to do but maintain the POS. We are a nation of morons!