Author Topic: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS  (Read 24614 times)

Offline collectSPACE

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Taking Endeavour's tanks: Retired shuttle donating water tanks for space station
http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-081715a-shuttle-endeavour-water-tanks.html

NASA's space shuttle Endeavour, retired and on exhibit in Los Angeles for the past three years, has been called back into service — or rather, parts of it have — for the benefit of the International Space Station.

A NASA team working this week at the California Science Center will remove four tanks from deep inside the winged orbiter to comprise a water storage system for the space station. The reactivated artifacts are intended to help free more crew time for science operations onboard the orbiting outpost by reducing the astronauts' involvement in refilling their water reserves.

"The ISS [International Space Station] program has been steadily increasing the amount of crew time dedicated to science and technology development [onboard the station] through initiatives like the water storage system," NASA told Endeavour's curators at the California Science Center, according to information shared with collectSPACE.

...Discovery, at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia, will be retaining its water tanks. Atlantis, which is still NASA property, recently had its tanks extracted from its display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to support the same station water storage system.

Offline robertross

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #1 on: 08/17/2015 04:02 PM »
As long as Discovery is left intact, I have no problem with this. A smart move to (hopefully) save money.
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Online Kansan52

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #2 on: 08/17/2015 04:12 PM »
Are these areas available for public viewing?

Offline grakenverb

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #3 on: 08/17/2015 04:32 PM »
What is the capacity of these tanks? Will they be transported inside Dragon, or inside the trunk?

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #4 on: 08/17/2015 04:41 PM »
What is the capacity of these tanks? Will they be transported inside Dragon, or inside the trunk?

Read the article.  Given the small size of the tanks, I don't see a compelling reason to send them up in the trunk.

Quote
Endeavour's water tanks can hold a total of 300 liters, enough for about 75 to 80 days.

How and when the new water storage system will be flown to the space station was not specified.

Online Chris Bergin

As long as Discovery is left intact, I have no problem with this. A smart move to (hopefully) save money.

That reminded me of one of Philip's articles - with Discovery protected as the "Vehicle of Record" (per the parts taken for SLS):

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/03/vehicle-record-sls-discovery-mps/

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #6 on: 08/17/2015 04:48 PM »
Are these areas available for public viewing?

Per the article, you can watch the work being done (from outside, of course).

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The pavilion will remain open to science center visitors as the work completed, which is expected by Friday.

Offline collectSPACE

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #7 on: 08/17/2015 05:19 PM »
To note a correction to the article (cited above):

Endeavour's water tanks can hold a total of 300 liters, enough for about 75 to 80 days.

The correct number is 25 to 27 days (the original number was based on just one USOS crew member, rather than three).

Offline jmcgauley

I appreciate how nice it is to see shuttle hardware flying again. But this feels to me like an indicator of how bad things have gotten in American spaceflight. Scavenging 25 year old water tanks from a museum piece to expand capacity on the ISS? Please tell me we're not that hard up for cash in the US manned space effort. This feels like the dark days of Shuttle, right before Challenger, when crews were regularly borrowing parts from one orbiter to get another one ready for flight. If we can't afford to produce a set of new water tanks for ISS, we really ought to re-think what we're doing.

Online the_other_Doug

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #9 on: 08/17/2015 06:24 PM »
I appreciate how nice it is to see shuttle hardware flying again. But this feels to me like an indicator of how bad things have gotten in American spaceflight. Scavenging 25 year old water tanks from a museum piece to expand capacity on the ISS? Please tell me we're not that hard up for cash in the US manned space effort. This feels like the dark days of Shuttle, right before Challenger, when crews were regularly borrowing parts from one orbiter to get another one ready for flight. If we can't afford to produce a set of new water tanks for ISS, we really ought to re-think what we're doing.

These were my thoughts exactly.  What's next -- salvaging the LH and LOX tank structures from the remaining S-IVB stages on display for the SLS upper stages?
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Offline notsorandom

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #10 on: 08/17/2015 06:50 PM »
There is a pragmatism here that should be commended rather disparaged. It is good to see NASA thinking of how to reduce unnecessary expenses. The tanks are located in a part of the shuttles that museum visitors cannot see. They don't do anything for the exhibit. Removing them and flying them will directly enable more science to be done at ISS for less money. The Shuttle was designed to be reusable. It is nice to think that at least a few parts of them will get to fly in space again.

Offline Jim

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #11 on: 08/17/2015 07:10 PM »
I appreciate how nice it is to see shuttle hardware flying again. But this feels to me like an indicator of how bad things have gotten in American spaceflight. Scavenging 25 year old water tanks from a museum piece to expand capacity on the ISS? Please tell me we're not that hard up for cash in the US manned space effort. This feels like the dark days of Shuttle, right before Challenger, when crews were regularly borrowing parts from one orbiter to get another one ready for flight. If we can't afford to produce a set of new water tanks for ISS, we really ought to re-think what we're doing.

Wrong takeaway.  It is a common practice.  Many of the crew support items use on the Spacelab modules came from the Skylab backup OWS.  There were many trips to the NASM to remove hardware such as lights.

And also not the same as borrowing parts from one orbiter for another.  This is a permanent loan.  The issue with the shuttle doing it was that the parts were a "loan" had to be "repaid".    There was the additional work and risk of removing and reinstalling the parts.  That was the problem.

This is just good stewardship of existing hardware by reusing parts

Edit:  Forgot to add that Magellan was made up of parts left over from Voyager and Galileo.
« Last Edit: 08/18/2015 12:30 AM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #12 on: 08/17/2015 07:14 PM »
These were my thoughts exactly.  What's next -- salvaging the LH and LOX tank structures from the remaining S-IVB stages on display for the SLS upper stages?

Great idea if it can work.  The point is that the stages were made to be flown and hence would not be on display in the first place.   I don't understand this worship of everything related to MGA over other projects and programs.   I have the same issue with people wanting to keep Hangar S or the Mercury Control Center Building.
MGA is so fifty years ago.  Let it go and lets move on. 

Offline collectSPACE

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #13 on: 08/17/2015 08:54 PM »
There's nothing wrong with an interest, or even passion, for preservation Jim. And advocating preservation is not necessarily worship.

The California Science Center didn't just default to handing over Endeavour's tanks. They held several meetings, with both internal and external parties, to weigh the trade offs between preserving OV-105 as delivered versus supporting an on-going program. Ultimately, as raised earlier in this thread, the fact that Discovery remains the orbiter of reference was why the science center felt it could part with the tanks.

Reuse is not always the best answer, but in this situation it was deemed a benefit.
« Last Edit: 08/17/2015 08:55 PM by collectSPACE »

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #14 on: 08/17/2015 09:03 PM »
Smithsonian also allowed NASA to cut parts from both flown and unflown Apollo heatshields to aid with modeling for Orion.

I think part of the pragmatic reason is also not just the cost of buying a new tank which while not free, is hardly expensive either. But with NASA being NASA they also can't just buy some jugs off the rack and send them up, they would have to go through whatever level of review and testing NASA would require for confidence. The tanks from shuttle already have that confidence.

Offline Prober

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #15 on: 08/18/2015 03:45 PM »
I appreciate how nice it is to see shuttle hardware flying again. But this feels to me like an indicator of how bad things have gotten in American spaceflight. Scavenging 25 year old water tanks from a museum piece to expand capacity on the ISS? Please tell me we're not that hard up for cash in the US manned space effort. This feels like the dark days of Shuttle, right before Challenger, when crews were regularly borrowing parts from one orbiter to get another one ready for flight. If we can't afford to produce a set of new water tanks for ISS, we really ought to re-think what we're doing.

More interested in the reasons why after all these years of ISS operation the need is there "to expand capacity on the ISS"?  It's the "Why" the sudden need?
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Offline jmcgauley

Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #16 on: 08/18/2015 03:58 PM »
Thanks to all who followed my comment with their thoughts and insights. I still wonder about the wisdom of using 25-year-old plumbing in such a critical place. But I defer to all of you who are wiser and more knowledgeable on the details.

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #17 on: 08/18/2015 04:03 PM »
Beyond that, whole spacecraft have been 'robbed' from NASM for use on-orbit:

http://www.airspacemag.com/space/a-tale-of-two-satellites-2690015/?no-ist

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The swap began in 1984. That year, when the U.S. Air Force called Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory looking for a spare satellite to launch into polar orbit, APL program manager David Grant knew just where the service could find one: hanging from the ceiling of the National Air and Space Museum. Grant had recently taken his children for a visit, and remembered seeing an Oscar 17 satellite on display.

Offline woods170

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Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #18 on: 08/18/2015 04:04 PM »
I appreciate how nice it is to see shuttle hardware flying again. But this feels to me like an indicator of how bad things have gotten in American spaceflight. Scavenging 25 year old water tanks from a museum piece to expand capacity on the ISS? Please tell me we're not that hard up for cash in the US manned space effort. This feels like the dark days of Shuttle, right before Challenger, when crews were regularly borrowing parts from one orbiter to get another one ready for flight. If we can't afford to produce a set of new water tanks for ISS, we really ought to re-think what we're doing.

More interested in the reasons why after all these years of ISS operation the need is there "to expand capacity on the ISS"?  It's the "Why" the sudden need?

Not sudden. The water-recovery system on-board ISS has been in dire straits for a number of years now. The theory of re-using as much water as possible was very nice but in practice it is proving to be a devil to accomplish to the re-use levels required.
Hence the need to store more water on the station.

Online mtakala24

Re: Retired space shuttles' water tanks removed for ISS
« Reply #19 on: 08/19/2015 10:06 PM »
Instead of these tanks, they should be designing and testing new types of water recovery systems from different suppliers, to see what works and to develop the system for Mars missions etc... but money and crew time talks, and we get this relief effort.

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