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Only two more shuttle flights are scheduled: Endeavour on April 29 and Atlantis on June 28, wrapping up a program in which the vehicles launched satellites, built a space station, and launched and repaired an orbiting telescope. After that, they become museum pieces.

CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) -- NASA announced Tuesday the new retirement homes for the four remaining space shuttles -- three historic orbiters and the program's test vehicle.

The space shuttle Atlantis will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida; the Endeavour, at the California Science Center in Los Angeles; the Discovery, at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia; and the test shuttle, Enterprise, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. said during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center.

The announcement was made on the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle program's first flight, made by the subsequently ill-fated Columbia orbiter, and the 50th anniversary of Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human in space.

More than 20 locations around the country sought one of the orbiters because of the potential tourist draw. The drama mirrored the bidding to host an Olympic games.

more: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/04/12/space.shuttle.new.homes/?hpt=T1

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35 Years Ago: NASA Unveils First Space Shuttle, 'Enterprise' On Sept. 17, 1976, NASA's prototype space shuttle Enterprise was rolled out of its assembly facility in Southern California and displayed

nice shot of the LA Coliseum Endeavour arrives at Exposition Park, the site of its new home at the California Science Center

The east coast and west coast get the shuttles, but nothing for the central US...

I thought Chicago's Adler Planetarium had a compelling proposal, but the competition sure was fierce.

Adler_Shuttle_Endeavour.jpg

I would have been happy for a any of the Midwestern cities to get a shuttle though.

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Not sure why they are sending the Enterprise to the Intrepid in New York. Not even sure how they will display it there - will probably be exposed to the elements. Surprised they didn't send it to the JSC in Houston. Great to see one on the west coast, not too far from Glendale where they were built. B)

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This is what they got planned for the Kennedy Space Center with the Atlantis:

KennedySpaceCentreShuttleProposal.jpg

Supposed to be the only display with the payload open and an extended Canadarm. Endeavour's Canadarm is supposed to be coming back to Canada.

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  • 1 month later...

Endeavour Lifts Off on Its Final Flight

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — After a two-week pause to fix electrical trouble, the shuttle Endeavour lifted off Monday morning on a mission to pry a few secrets from the universe.

...the 25th and final flight of Endeavour, which was built after the shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after a launching in 1986, killing all seven astronauts on board. Endeavour, which first flew in 1992, is due to land on June 1, and will eventually be put on display at a science museum in Los Angeles. Only the last flight of the shuttle Atlantis, scheduled for July, is left on NASA’s calendar.

17shuttle3-articleLarge.jpg

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/17/science/space/17shuttle.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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Atlantis Launches on Final Shuttle Mission

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.—Space shuttle Atlantis arced gracefully into the sky Friday morning on the final journey of a storied program that has been marked by triumph and tragedy.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators descended on the Cape Canaveral area to witness the event. The space center was packed with guests and media, and dignitaries on hand included former National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials, four members of the Kennedy family and singers Gloria Estefan and Jimmy Buffett.

Atlantis's four-person crew is embarking on a 12-day mission, the 135th of the shuttle program, that is aimed mainly at restocking the International Space Station with spare parts and a year's worth of provisions.

...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303544604576433822383063538.html

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:unsure: So Err...Russia wins the manned space-race?

:angry: AMERICA!! WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU!...Would Reagan Era America allow this to happen?!!! :angry:

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  • 2 weeks later...

:angry: AMERICA!! WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU!...Would Reagan Era America allow this to happen?!!! :angry:

We are in a sad state of very poor leadership. We elected an inexperienced celebrity candidate to run a fantasy future based on bullsh!t. I remember watching him parade around the US and Europe to mobs of adoring fans, many very young who all thought this was the answer. It's so hard to kick a bum out once he's taken up residence but we have high hopes next year for CHANGE.

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It's a strange feeling that the US won't launch manned spacecraft for a still unclear number of years; and it's really poignant that the big former rivals of the US space programme, the Russians, now have to offer the American astronauts their hospitality and take them aboard their spacecraft.

One really has to ask why the development of a successor for the space shuttles wasn't started earlier so that they have the successor ready now or at least very soon.

But on the other hand, the current cutbacks in the NASA budget were probably inevitable, bearing the huge economical and financial problems of the United States in mind. In the end -- as important spaceflights may be for the national prestige and self-esteem --, spaceflights are a luxury item. And luxury items are always the first things which have to be cut back in times of budgetary crisis.

So even if it's not very "sexy" to see the United States without manned spaceflights for so many years to come -- I rather bear that "unsexy" condition than having to bear United States which are slowly becoming a fallen superpower due to ever-rising and life-threatening debts. What would be unsexier than that?

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spaceflights are a luxury item. And luxury items are always the first things which have to be cut back in times of budgetary crisis.

To me it's not a luxury item, but a very important one in research and development. And if you want to "move forward", you should never do cutbacks to R&D.

It's just a bunch of greedy boneheads on Wall Street and corrupt (and greedy) politicians in DC, that put the US in the state it is in. To get the ball rolling on recovery, one of the first things that needs to be done is to take back some manufacturing from China.

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I'll miss the space shuttle program.

I always liked the desing of the shuttles. So charming...

And, well, it seems that Russians in the past were more able to make long term cost-effective way to go to Space. In this battle of the "space race", they won, so far.

Time for USA to come back with something new and better and they will, for sure. B)

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  • 4 weeks later...

In a rare occurrence, Space Shuttle orbiters Discovery and Endeavour were purposefully visible together this morning at the Kennedy Space Center as a Shuttle shuffle took place to move Endeavour from OPF-1 to the VAB for storage and Discovery from the VAB to OPF-1 for full Transition and Retirement processing, set to culminate for the veteran orbiter in January 2012 when she will be ready to ferry to the Smithsonian.

20634_single.jpg

One month and two days after Space Shuttle orbiter Atlantis lifted off on the finale of the Space Shuttle Program, her two sisters – Discovery and Endeavour – shared the spot light this morning at the Kennedy Space Center in what was a rare-est of rare photographs of the Space Shuttle Program: two Space Shuttle orbiters, on their wheels, nose-to-nose, in severely stripped-down attire.

Specifically, the effort to move Discovery and Endeavour was part of the ongoing Transition and Retirement flows for Atlantis (OV-104), Discovery (OV-103), and Endeavour (OV-105) in only two OPFs at the space center.

...

A142.jpg

Discovery/OV-103 and Enterprise/OV-101:

On January 3, 2012, Discovery will be “ready for ferry” – a politically correct way of saying that all work on Discovery at the Kennedy Space Center will be done.

On Jan. 3, Discovery will be rolled out of OPF-1 and into VAB HB4 for storage. She will remain in storage until April 10, when she will be towed to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) and hoisted atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA).

Then, on a date that seems too conspicuous to be a coincidence, the Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery will depart the Kennedy Space Center for the final time on April 12, 2012 – the 31st anniversary of the very first Space Shuttle launch.

After a short flight on the back of the SCA, Discovery will arrive at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. later that day.

Following arrival on April 12, Discovery will be removed from the back of the SCA via cranes and lowered onto the ground at Dulles. Shortly thereafter, on April 15, Enterprise will be hoisted on top of the SCA in preparation for her ferry flight to JFK International Airport in New York.

But Enterprise’s road to New York will begin long before April 2012. In mid-January 2012, Enterprise will be removed from display at the Air and Space Museum.

From mid-January through mid-April, Enterprise’s display pods will be removed, she will be fitted with the standard ferry flight aerodynamic tailcone assembly, and a ferry kit will be installed on her.

Following the arrival of Discovery on the SCA on April 12, Enterprise will be towed out of her temporary storage hanger to the SCA at Dulles, mated to the aircraft, and flown out of Washington, D.C. and into JFK International on April 17.

Once at JFK, the mated SCA/Enterprise duo will spend a month in storage as the offload equipment at JFK is configured. (The offload equipment at Dulles for Discovery will be flown out a good month in advance of Discovery’s arrival.)

After a month in storage, Enterprise will be demated from the SCA and await the readiness of the Intrepid to receive her.

Endeavour/OV-105:

On August 4, 2012, Endeavour will leave the Kennedy Space Center for a brief cross-country tour before landing at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Delivery of Endeavour to Los Angeles will also mark the final time that a Space Shuttle orbiter will leave the Kennedy Space Center. Coincidentally, Endeavour – the baby of the Shuttle fleet – was the last Shuttle orbiter to be delivered to Kennedy. She arrived for the first time on May 7, 1991.

Atlantis/OV-104:

on September 19, 2012, all processing work on Atlantis will be complete – an end of over 30 years of Shuttle processing efforts at the Kennedy Space Center.

On Sept. 19, Atlantis will be removed from OPF-1 and stored in the VAB until February 2013.

For the final time, on February 1, 2013 – exactly 10 years after the loss of Columbia – Atlantis will be rolled out of the VAB, past the OPFs, out onto State Road 3, and down the road to the KSC Visitor’s Center.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/08/endeavour-discovery-swap-places-new-retirement-dates-planned/

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With the money problems ths US is having, I almost thought they were going to sell the shuttles to China for scrap. ;)

;) Nice...I'd say the US Government would have been really affronted watching a fully reverse engineered shuttle orbiting Earth sometime next year? (just like that soviet carrier that was used as a template for the Navy fleet revealed last week!)

:D Tee hee hee...Go China!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Astronauts May Have to Abandon Space Station

August 29, 2011

Astronauts will abandon the International Space Station, probably in mid-November, if rocket engine problems that doomed a Russian cargo ship last week are not diagnosed and fixed.

Even if unoccupied, the space station can be operated by controllers on the ground indefinitely and would not be in immediate danger of falling out of orbit.

Three Russian astronauts, two Americans and a Japanese are living on the space station.

...

Last Wednesday, an unmanned Russian cargo ship known as the Progress, which was carrying three tons of supplies to the space station, crashed in Siberia. Telemetry from the rocket indicated that a drop of fuel pressure led its computer to shut down the third-stage engine prematurely five and a half minutes into flight.

The Soyuz rocket that lifts the Progress is similar to the Soyuz rocket that takes astronauts to the station, and officials want to make sure they understand what failed on last week’s launching and are confident it will not occur again.

Two unmanned launchings of Soyuz rockets are likely to occur before the next set of three crew members head to the space station. That launching had been scheduled for Sept. 21.

...

While all of the day-to-day operations can be handled remotely, mission controllers may not be able to handle emergencies that might endanger the space station. “There is a greater risk of losing the I.S.S. when it’s unmanned than if it were manned,” Mr. Suffredini said. “The risk increase is not insignificant.”

With the retirement of NASA’s shuttles, the Soyuz rockets will be the only way for people to go to the space station for several years at least. The Soyuz, dating to the 1960s, has been a reliable workhorse for the Russian space program.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/science/space/30nasa.html

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The design for a huge rocket to take humans to asteroids and Mars has been unveiled by the US space agency (Nasa).

The Space Launch System (SLS), as it is currently known, will be the most powerful launcher ever built - more powerful even than the Saturn V rockets that put men on the Moon.

On top of the SLS, Nasa plans to put its Orion astronaut capsule, which is already in development.

The agency says the first launch should occur towards the end of 2017.

This will be an uncrewed test flight, and it is estimated the project will have cost $18bn by that stage.

"The next chapter of America's space exploration story is being written today," said Nasa's top official, General Charles Bolden.

"President Obama has challenged us to be bold and dream big, and that's exactly what we do.

"While I was proud to fly in the space shuttle, tomorrow's explorers will dream of one day walking on Mars."

The SLS will borrow many technologies developed for the recently retired space shuttle programme. These include the shuttle orbiter's main engines.

But whereas the reusable spaceplane had three such power units on its aft, the SLS main core stage in its full-up configuration will have five.

A further stage on top will provide additional muscle, as will shuttle-like strap-on boosters. Although, again, these will be bigger than those used on the shuttle.

The initial design calls for the SLS to be able to put 70 tonnes in a low-Earth orbit (LEO), the altitude of the space station. Some 130 tonnes is the eventual target.

By comparison, today's biggest commercial launch vehicles, such as the Ariane 5 or the Delta IV Heavy, can put just over 20 tonnes in LEO.

The immense lift capability is necessary to put all the equipment in orbit that is needed to undertake a deep-space mission. This would consist of not only the Orion capsule but perhaps a habitation module and a landing craft to go down to the surface of another planetary body.

In the case of a Mars mission, several SLS launches would probably be needed.

Wednesday's announcement is the culmination of months of study on the part of Nasa engineers, and sometimes fractious argument with the US Congress which felt the agency was not moving fast enough on the project it initiated in a piece of legislation called the Nasa Authorisation Act 2010.

Since the retirement of the shuttle in July, America has no means of getting its own astronauts into orbit; it must rely on Russian Soyuz rockets to do that job.

Nasa has invited the private sector to sell it transportation services to the space station, but these commercially operated rockets and capsules will not be ready for flight until the middle of the decade. And, in any case, none of them will have the power or the life-support systems capable of taking astronauts beyond LEO.

In leaving routine LEO operations to the commercial sector, Nasa hopes it will have sufficient funds available to develop the SLS and Orion in time for the 2017 inaugural launch.

There is no "roadmap" yet for where the SLS and Orion might take humans, and when. President Obama has talked only about getting astronauts to an asteroid in the 2025 timeframe, and to Mars at some unspecified future date.

Other targets might include missions to geostationary orbit where telecommunications satellites sit, 36,000km above the Earth.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14915725

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Just saw the NASA artical on the news! That is one serious pair of launch vehicles, absolute monsters!

Good to see NASA returning to exploration instead of being a commercial space trucking hauler to the ISS.

By now commercial shuttles should be servicing the station and satellite networks, where are they?

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