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Shuttle Heads for 100 and Then Some

By Cloudscout in News
Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 03:30:02 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)

Tonight at 9:38pm Eastern time, the Space Shuttle Discovery will mark the 100th Space Shuttle Mission. There's a brief story on it at WESH Channel 2000 describing a few mission details, including 4 spacewalks, and weather concerns for tonight's launch.

Something else interesting is that this is the second launch in as many months and there will be another one next month. The 2001 schedule is on NASA's website and starts off with a launch in January and one in February with 5 missions total throughout the year.

All of these flights are for ISS (International Space Station) assembly missions and they all utilize one of three shuttles; Discovery (OV-103), Atlantis (OV-104) and Endeavor (OV-105) each taking about 4 1/2 months off between flights. Notably absent from this rotation is Columbia (OV-102), the oldest orbiter in the shuttle fleet which has been undergoing its conversion to the glass cockpit (see the Slashdot story) since last September.

If you're like me, you'll be up on your roof tonight watching the launch. If you're geographically impaired, you may just want to tune into the NASA Channel or see if there is some coverage on one of theDiscovery Channels.


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Related Links
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o Slashdot story
o NASA Channel
o Discovery Channels
o Also by Cloudscout

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Shuttle Heads for 100 and Then Some | 10 comments (7 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
One day ... (3.00 / 2) (#1)
by mihalis on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 01:08:21 PM EST

One day I would like to see the Shuttle take off in person. I've been a space and Sci-Fi fan all my life, but I have never seen a real rocket, shuttle etc take off. Also the most aware I've ever been of a launch was when the tv news kept showing the one that blew up over and over again - it would be nice to have some more positive experience to balance that out!
-- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>

Additional Information on the Shuttles (3.75 / 4) (#3)
by Cloudscout on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 01:23:42 PM EST

Here are a few online references with interesting information about the shuttles:

Enterprise (OV-101) - The first shuttle, it was named for a rather famous fictional spaceship and was a test vehicle used for suborbital flight and landing tests and was never sent into space.

Columbia (OV-102) - The oldest orbiter in the current fleet which is currently undergoing upgrades to its online systems.

Challenger (STA-099/OV-99) - Originally built as a test vehicle and designated STA-099, the decision was made in January, 1979 to have it converted into a fully-capable orbiter. On January 28, 1986, Challenger and the seven astronauts on board, including Sharon Christa McAuliffe who was to become the first civillian in space, met with a tragic fate 73 seconds after launch.

Discovery (OV-103) - This Orbiter first flew on August 30, 1984. It is the vehicle that will be launched tonight.

Atlantis (OV-104) - Completed on March 6th, 1985, this vehicle was the first to undergo conversion to the new glass cockpit system.

Endeavor (OV-105) - While Discovery and Atlantis were under construction, NASA decided it would be a good idea to maintain a set of 'structural spares' in case an orbiter was damaged. When the Challenger was destroyed, these structural spares were assembled to create Endeavor as a replacement. Endeavor first flew STS-49 on May 5, 1992.


Launch Delayed 24 Hours (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by Cloudscout on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 03:16:44 PM EST

According to NASA, "Shuttle managers will delay Discovery's launch 24 hours to allow engineers time to understand why a bolt did not fully retract as the external tank separated from the orbiter on the last shuttle mission. Managers will meet tomorrow morning to decide if the troubleshooting operation overnight has allayed potential concerns."

Since this mission is to rendezvous with the ISS, the launch window is extremely short. Tonight's window was to be a mere 5 minutes long. The last mission, STS-106 which launched on September 8th, had a launch window of only 2 1/2 minutes; the shortest launch window ever. It is unclear how long the launch window will be tomorrow night.


Launch windows for ISS (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by RocketJeff on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 04:17:17 PM EST

A 5 minute launch window is about the longest NASA can get when launching to the ISS. This is mainly because the orbit inclination of the ISS is so steep (because of the Russian involvement).
This also limits the payload the shuttle can carry (if it's launched more eastward it gets a larger assist from the Earth's rotation). This doesn't actually matter too much for most ISS launches since size, rather then weight, seems to be the limiting factor.

[ Parent ]
Only a 100 (none / 0) (#8)
by AndyGuy on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 11:02:21 AM EST

My first thought when I saw this on the BBC website was - they have only done a 100 launches in something like 20 years - average 4 a year!

We could really do with something that has a shorter turn around time.


NASA TV (none / 0) (#9)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 01:14:49 AM EST

As the article mentions, you can receive NASA footage via NASA TV. The website has info on the video signal. My question is, can I receive it with a standard telivision receiver? If not, what hardware do I need? I'm not a radio geek, so state the obvious.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
Re: NASA TV (none / 0) (#10)
by tornado on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 06:24:09 PM EST

what hardware do I need?

Three words: analog satellite dish. (Digital mini-dishes won't work.) That's what the second paragraph of the page you link to is talking about -- where to point your dish.

If you replace hardware with software, however, the answer is a different three words: free Real Player.

Follow your link and click on sources then NASA Headquarters and you'll get a live stream of the shuttle. All you have to do is sit back and wait for the launch (like I am).

"I like [Mac OS X] significantly more than I like Windows NT, which is better than 95 or 98 in the way that smallpox is better than Ebola." -- Kyrrin
[ Parent ]

Shuttle Heads for 100 and Then Some | 10 comments (7 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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