[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 15:16:30 EST 2014


At 01:28 PM 11/15/2014, Zeger Nuyens wrote:

>  I wasn't going to comment any further on this matter but since you did:
>And yes,exactly the shuttle served to bring people up to the ISS and 
>we were lucky to have the shuttle still around after 2006 otherwise 
>we would have been without any capability to launch our people not 
>for 4 years but for 8 years and still counting.

I hate to phrase it this way, but big fat hairy deal. If the Bush Jr. 
administration had not made the decision to retire the shuttle then 
the US (and Europe, Japan, and Canada) would still be just as 
dependent on the Soyuz. Even if the shuttle was flying once a month 
the U.S. would still be shelling out $75 Million per seat to Russia 
for Soyuz access.

While it might be nice to fly the shuttle just to be able to wave the 
American flag and say "We've got our own way of flying astronauts to 
and from space" it doesn't permit astronauts to serve on long 
duration missions. Every single long term astronaut who flew to ISS 
(or Mir for that matter) aboard the shuttle (one way or round trip) 
still had to have an assigned Soyuz seat. For the first 13 ISS 
Expedition crews that was as in-kind contribution from Russia, after 
that it's been cash as you go.

The fact that the U.S. (and Europe, Japan, and Canada) are now 
relying on Russia for access to space is a very tiny part of the 
situation - the more important part is since the retirement of the 
Apollo command module the U.S. has not had any operational long 
duration spacecraft with the capabilities to use as a space station 
lifeboat. Whether or not the shuttle continued to fly and whether or 
not the Columbia accident happened does not change the situation. By 
April 2006 the U.S. needed its own capability to support long term 
crew aboard ISS and failed to meet the deadline. Whether or not the 
shuttle is flying doesn't change that situation.




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