[FPSPACE] The Myth of space shuttle retirement and space station - was Re: Here's a question

Julie Miller juliermiller at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 15 12:16:29 EST 2014

It's true that many long term ISS astronauts did fly to and from the 
ISS via the shuttle, but every single one of them had a Soyuz seat 
assigned to them for their entire stay.

Dennis Tito launched on a Soyuz, but the primary purpose for his seat 
and flight was to provide rescue capability for an Expedition 2 crew 
member in case they needed to make an emergency return.

Fair comment about Griffin.

At 11:56 AM 11/15/2014, Charles, John B. (JSC-SA211) wrote:
>Interesting observation, except:
>(1) The shuttle did in fact deposit 21 astronauts aboard ISS, then 
>depart, returning later to retrieve them, 13 times in 2001-2003 and 
>2007-2009. Not counting the Exp 6 crew launched on Shuttle and 
>landed on Soyuz after Columbia disaster, or the crew launched on 
>Soyuz and landed on Shuttle (Exp 1). Not the same as a lifeboat 
>capability, but definitely "live" not "visit".
>(2) Griffin reminded Congress every year that the Shuttle-retirement 
>clock was ticking. Let's give him due credit.
>John Charles
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Julie Miller [mailto:juliermiller at earthlink.net]
>Sent: Friday, November 14, 2014 06:33 PM Central Standard Time To: 
>fpspace at friends-partners.org <fpspace at friends-partners.org>
>Subject: [FPSPACE] The Myth of space shuttle retirement and space 
>station - was Re: Here's a question
>At 06:54 PM 11/14/2014, Zeger Nuyens wrote:
> >Now talking about the US,isn't it the country that abandoned a means
> >of transportation to the ISS  back in 2003 and went all out to get a
> >new and better one to be ready when the shuttle was (finally) phased
> >out in 2010 (well you got a few extra years)? But even 12 years was
> >not enough it seems.
> >Getting rid of one system before having another one ready,well...
>Actually the U.S. has _NEVER_ had the capability to support the
>transportation for astronauts who live aboard the International Space
>Station. It's relied on the Russian Soyuz since October 31, 2000.
>The U.S. did have the capability to have astronauts _visit_ the space
>station via the space shuttle, which it no longer has since the
>retirement of the shuttle.
>Visit vs. live is an important distinction.
>Only the Soyuz has the ability to support long duration crews.
>Whether or not crews flew to the ISS via the shuttle or Soyuz, the
>long duration crews always relied on Soyuz "lifeboat" seats.
>Per the 1998 inter-agency agreement the first 13 Soyuz lifeboats were
>provided by Russia as in-kind contributions. 13 Soyuz x 6 months =
>6.5 years. When the first space station crew launched on October 31,
>2000 every partner knew that the Russian contribution to provide
>Soyuz would end in April 2006 - that never changed and was never a
>surprise to anybody who paid addition.
>The U.S. was supposed to have its own rescue capability by that
>point. At that point it was supposed to be a version of the X-38. If
>that rescue vehicle was only certified to return crews from space
>then the U.S. (including European, Japanese, and Canadian) crews
>would still need the shuttle to fly to and from the ISS and only rely
>on the X-38 for rescue if necessary. If the X-38 evolved into a
>two-way vehicle it could fly crews to and from ISS and wouldn't be
>dependent on continued shuttle operations.
>The X-38 went over budget and added to ISS's increasing costs
>resulted in its cancellation without any viable replacement
>scheduled. That was the mistake - ignoring that the 2006 deadline
>would not magically disappear.
>The fact that the shuttle is not flying anymore has (almost) nothing
>to do with the U.S. dependence on the Soyuz for transporting
>astronauts to and from the space station.
>Don't bring politics into it - Republican and Democratic
>administrations and NASA administrators from Goldin to Griffin were
>all very aware of the 2006 deadline and ignored that there was no way
>for US segment astronauts to live aboard the space station.
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