Author Topic: Orbiter retirement  (Read 312831 times)

Offline collectSPACE

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #20 on: 08/31/2006 07:56 pm »
We have had a similar on-going discussion about this topic over at collectSPACE (inspired by the California State Assembly's bid to claim Atlantis). Here is what I wrote about the outlook back in June:

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When the Udvar-Hazy was previewed to the press in November 2003, it was said then that Enterprise was a place holder for one of the flown orbiters. So you can pretty much count on one of them (my guess: Discovery) going to UHC.

That leaves two flown birds and Enterprise.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has already announced plans and a budget to build an orbital processing facility (OPF) replica to display a flown orbiter to the public. And let's face it, its the Cape, the most popular public space attraction after the National Air and Space Museum. So, its also a safe assumption an orbiter will be staying in Florida.

One left (and Enterprise).

Johnson Space Center is the home of the shuttle program. True, its Visitor Center is disappointing (from a space enthusiast's viewpoint) but the arrival of an orbiter could be the injection of space-themed excitement needed to turn the place around (from the Super Hero-obssessed, children's playground it is today). My bet would be that #3 is Houston-bound.

But let's say its not: here is what I would assume the shortlist of candidates:
  • U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Alabama)
  • Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
     
  • Air Force Plant 42 (Palmdale, CA)
     
  • California Science Center (Los Angeles)
     
  • Seattle Museum of Flight (Washington)
     
  • U.S Air Force Museum (Ohio)
That's six places and two orbiters.

For the sake of argument, let's disqualify Huntsville they already have Pathfinder and the only complete stack on display anywhere). I would also disqualify Los Angeles but for no other reason than the other choices are more likely.

Personally, I think the USAF Museum has the strongest claim on the remaining-but really going to JSC-flown orbiter, given their prestige. I think Kansas and Seattle are tied for second place. They are both excellent museums but their locations leave something to be desired.

At the end of the day though, I could see Palmdale being assigned Enterprise over all six, given its history.

Offline Jim

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #21 on: 08/31/2006 08:00 pm »
California Science Center (Los Angeles)  vs CA Aerospace museum?

Offline gordo

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #22 on: 08/31/2006 08:46 pm »
Its not really beneficial to the museum community and NASA's PR role to keep the oribiters at NASA centres. Having them in dedicated and well run museums its actually a far better proposition that giving them to a NASA centre 'cause they played a part in the programme.

KSC is a major tourist attraction, but in reality no other NASA centre can say that.  The shuttles need to be indoors, so unless a NASA centre is going to committ a chunk of public money to build a facility its not going to happen, where as places like the Smithsonian and Seattle have got facilites.  I would suspect KSC build an extention to the Saturn V centre.

Offline Mark Dave

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #23 on: 08/31/2006 09:18 pm »
IMO a facility next to the LC-39 Observation gantry would be good.

Offline mastronaut

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #24 on: 08/31/2006 11:23 pm »
KSC (Spaceport USA) has Delaware North to kick in the funding if needed as far as I know, correct me if I'm wrong.

Offline collectSPACE

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #25 on: 09/01/2006 02:52 am »
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Jim - 31/8/2006  2:47 PM

California Science Center (Los Angeles)  vs CA Aerospace museum?
The California Science Center one of only four museums to have flown examples of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo on display (the other three being the KSC Visitor Complex, Kansas Cosmosphere and the Smithsonian itself). The CSC has Mercury-Redstone 2, Gemini XI and ASTP's Command Module.

Offline collectSPACE

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #26 on: 09/01/2006 02:58 am »
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gordo - 31/8/2006  3:33 PM

KSC is a major tourist attraction, but in reality no other NASA centre can say that.  The shuttles need to be indoors, so unless a NASA centre is going to committ a chunk of public money to build a facility its not going to happen, where as places like the Smithsonian and Seattle have got facilites.  I would suspect KSC build an extention to the Saturn V centre.
Space Center Houston JSC's Visitor Center is a major tourist destination for Houston visitors. A temporary building designed to last 10 years (or more) has recently been constructed around their Saturn V. If an orbiter was on its way, one could imagine a permanent exhibit facility being built to house both the Saturn and shuttle together.

As for KSC, they will reportedly not be building onto (or near) the Saturn V Center, but rather plans call for an extension (or building adjacent) to their new Shuttle Launch Experience simulator. Here is their brief description:

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When the Space Shuttle program concludes, the visitor complex has envisioned a home for one of the orbiters. Visitors will be able to interact with the real vehicle and browse artifacts. Placed in the context of a processing facility environment, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Exhibit will be designed to capture the imagination of the public in much the same way as the Saturn V rocket does today at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

Offline Jim

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #27 on: 09/01/2006 11:29 am »
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collectspace - 31/8/2006  10:39 PM

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Jim - 31/8/2006  2:47 PM

California Science Center (Los Angeles)  vs CA Aerospace museum?
The California Science Center one of only four museums to have flown examples of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo on display (the other three being the KSC Visitor Complex, Kansas Cosmosphere and the Smithsonian itself). The CSC has Mercury-Redstone 2, Gemini XI and ASTP's Command Module.

They changed the name since I lived there.  We are talking about the same facility.  It was more of a standalone museum in the 80's.

Offline DontForgetHF

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #28 on: 09/01/2006 10:20 pm »
I'm thinking that at least one of the orbiters should be completely diassembled so that all of its subassemblies and components may be analyzed.  These orbiters are the only reusable spacecraft to have flown so many missions.  There may be some knowledge to gain by seeing how the materials in the airframe and even the various systems have been impacted by repeated flights and repeated exposure to the environments associated with spaceflight.

Offline mastronaut

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #29 on: 09/01/2006 11:17 pm »
I would think the major refurbs done at Palmdale would've taken care of most evidence of wear. IMO they are much more captivating as a whole.  ;)

Offline Flightstar

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #30 on: 09/02/2006 12:02 am »
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DontForgetHF - 1/9/2006  5:07 PM

I'm thinking that at least one of the orbiters should be completely diassembled so that all of its subassemblies and components may be analyzed.  These orbiters are the only reusable spacecraft to have flown so many missions.  There may be some knowledge to gain by seeing how the materials in the airframe and even the various systems have been impacted by repeated flights and repeated exposure to the environments associated with spaceflight.

While the motive is a good one. I would feel there would be a large movement against a full disassembly of an orbiter. Computers should be able to do that work without us "losing" a vehicle that way. They should be protected and honored.

Offline Mark Dave

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #31 on: 09/02/2006 01:10 am »
Disassembled? No, a cgi or scale see through model works better anyway.

Offline DontForgetHF

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #32 on: 09/02/2006 06:15 pm »
If it was true that all of our modern computer models were capable of telling us everything we needed to know about the stress involved with the mission of the vehicle and the impact on the materials and parts that it is made of, then we would not still be building static test articles for new aircraft, spacecraft, and other various vehicles and structures.  

I know these vehicles have some nostalgic value, but they were built for research and science.  I see no harm in taking at least one of them apart for analysis.  Heck, put it back together afterwards for display.

Offline Avron

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #33 on: 09/02/2006 07:58 pm »
I see no reason to destroy a treasure.. I am sure that the components replaced over time or during majour overhauls will provide more than enough data to confirm/ validate and tweek any computer model..

Offline DontForgetHF

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #34 on: 09/02/2006 08:22 pm »
Even with the overhauls, I believe there are still some structual and systems components that havent seen the light of day since final assembly.  Also, we fliy thousands of copies and types of various aircraft.  You'd think that we'd have enough data to validate our models from them, but yet we continue to do tests on real hardware.

Offline triddirt

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #35 on: 09/02/2006 09:35 pm »
Where would the full scale training mockups go? Could these be gutted enough to let folks walk through?

Offline Jim

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #36 on: 09/02/2006 09:44 pm »
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triddirt - 2/9/2006  5:22 PM

Where would the full scale training mockups go? Could these be gutted enough to let folks walk through?

Walkthrus already exist at MSFC and KSC

Offline spaceshuttle

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #37 on: 09/02/2006 10:49 pm »
sort of off-topic, but i think it'll be fair if the Michoud plant (which is/WAS literally in my backyard) produces a mock external tank to put in front of the building along with the apollo 1st stage they already have.
T-10...9...8...7...we're go for main engine start...4...3...2...1...0 and liftoff of Shuttle Daedalus as the National Aerospace System celebrates its 25th mission.

Offline simonbp

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #38 on: 09/03/2006 06:26 pm »
I talked with someone at the USSRC the other day, and they are shooting for Enterprise when NASM get their flown orbiter (Discovery I assume)...

WRT to Pathfinder, it's rather high up and hard to see except from a distance; a close-up exhibt of Enterprise would be a nice complement...

Oh, and the orbiters will never leave the NASA inventory; once you give (rather than loan) them to a museum, you don't know where they'll end up...

Simon ;)

Offline vt_hokie

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Re: Orbiter retirement
« Reply #39 on: 09/03/2006 07:15 pm »
If the Air Force museum in Dayton gets one, maybe someday we can see a shuttle orbiter sitting on display next to "Blackstar"!   ;)

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