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NASA retiring space shuttle fleet later this year?

Posted on 2011-03-08
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How are they going to get to the space station?
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Question by:Tom Knowlton
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aleghart earned 250 total points
ID: 35073667
The ISS gets re-supply by unmanned delivery vehicles.  The USA's space shuttle has big payload plus ability to deliver personnel and manipulate modules/parts with its boom.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition26/resupply_feature.html

Basically a giant can stuffed full of food and parts is shot up into orbit.  They get on parallel course until they meet up and dock.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 250 total points
ID: 35073710
They'll use the TMA-01M shuttles until (possibly) Aries-Orion comes onstream in 2015.  However US investment in the ISS has been significantly reduced.
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by:Tom Knowlton
ID: 35073712
The article I read made it sound like we won't be using the Space Shuttle AT ALL.

Can you elaborate on that?
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by:Tom Knowlton
ID: 35073721
They'll use the TMA-01M shuttles until (possibly) Aries-Orion comes onstream in 2015.  However US investment in the ISS has been significantly reduced.

Any links that talk about Aries-Orion?
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by:aleghart
ID: 35073749
The TMA-01M is a Soyuz vehicle from Russia.  Not the NASA Space Shuttle.
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by:Tom Knowlton
ID: 35073763
TMA-01M is a Soyuz vehicle from Russia


This vehicle is a type of space shuttle?
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by:aleghart
ID: 35073810
NASA is still spending money through this month on Ares:
  http://www.spacepolitics.com/2010/12/28/holiday-briefs-ares-orion-commercial-and-broken-promises/


First Orion delivered for outfitting and testing:
  http://www.onorbit.com/node/2964
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 35073841
With STS-136 grounded the TMA is the only viable alternative to get people on & off ISS. NASA don't look like they are going to provide the transport so it means hitching a ride with the Russians.
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by:Tom Knowlton
ID: 35073849
Huh....interesting!
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by:aleghart
ID: 35073850
>>TMA-01M is a Soyuz vehicle from Russia

>This vehicle is a type of space shuttle?

Shuttle means it goes back-and-forth, versus just dropping out of orbit to splash/crash (one-time use).

Scott Kelly, current commander of the NASA space shuttle mission rode on one.  IIRC, it's still docked to the ISS for use as an emergency escape module.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_TMA-M#Soyuz_TMA-M
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 35073872
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by:aleghart
ID: 35073881
^ sorry, ISS mission, not space shuttle.  That's his brother.
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by:Tom Knowlton
ID: 35073912
Okay, so the Soyuz is a rocket launched orbital vehicle that is made for re-entry....but not reusable in the sense that the space shuttle was...it can't land...it must splash down in the ocean and be retrieved by a ship.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 35073983
Yep - but given the shuttle is effectively grounded is the only way up & back between STS-135 and Ares/Orion (that's probably a three year gap and I think the ISS crew will want some shore-leave before then!)
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by:Tom Knowlton
ID: 35074026
>>>> I think the ISS crew will want some shore-leave before then!)


LOL.  Ya think?


So in an emergency, and let's suppose no escape craft was available, how long would it take to get somebody to the the ISS?


Also, does anyone know if the ISS can run unmanned?  Does it have a computer system that can keep it up there with no human intervention?

Can the ISS be run from the ground via remote?

If it was abandoned, would it just remain in orbit forever?

Or would the orbit eventually decay?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 35074095
The protocol is there are never more aboard than there are places on the escape craft - currently the TMA - There isn't a lot of direct human intervention by the crew in keeping it up there but eventually, yes, it will drop out of orbit - remember Skylab?
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by:Tom Knowlton
ID: 35074107
I'm old enough to remember SkyLab.  I don't remember what happened.  Didn't they purposefully crash it into the ocean by controlling it's decay?
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by:Tom Knowlton
ID: 35074123
Errrm....

Before plans to refurbish and reuse Skylab with the Space Shuttle could begin, the station reentered Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated in 1979, with debris striking portions of Western Australia.

(Off the skylab wiki)
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by:Tom Knowlton
ID: 35100795
thx
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