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Frenchfry's avatar

Is anyone else sad that Nasa's space shuttle program is shutting down?

Asked by Frenchfry (7589points) October 1st, 2010

1200 worker are going to be unemployed, and more to come. China just put a rocket into space. I am kind of sad about the whole ordeal. If you want to be a astronaut when you grow up here in the US, you have to move to China, or Russia.

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35 Answers

bob_'s avatar

I, for one, am not.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Sad does not begin to describe it. we should be pushing on to Mars and other planets, maybe even building nuclear explosion powered ships that can visit our closest neighbouring stars. not shutting things down.

really, its not their fault, the shuttle is now old, and if we keep using them then we are risking more disasters, but we should have had replacements ready by now.

I don’t live in the USA, or China, or Russia, but it just makes me angry when I see things like this. lets abandon exploration in favor of more military investment, what a great idea.

timtrueman's avatar

Not really. I loved the space shuttle, don’t get me wrong but it had several inherent design flaws, such as not being able to allow the astronauts to escape in case of an emergency in the first few seconds of launch. Also, it’s not like that means we’re not going into space and the Chinese and Russians will take over. We’re going to be handing off those shuttle missions to SpaceX based out of California. I’m not sure if they employ 1200 people right now but I’m sure they’ll get there pretty quickly. It’s going to be cheaper and they’ve been profitable from the beginning.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes. For a whole lot of reasons, not the least being that Americans seem to think it sufficient to simply pronounce to the world that they have “the right stuff” or something to that effect, than to do anything that actually shows that they do.

lillycoyote's avatar

@timtrueman Is it in the best interest of the country to outsource our space program? Is it in the best interests of the country’s space program to outsource it or at least sizeable chunks of it?

timtrueman's avatar

@lillycoyote I’m very confused. How are we outsourcing our space program?

poisonedantidote's avatar

On a side note, talking about jobs. we should be building mining ships. to go out there and bring back asteroids for mining. you could create millions of jobs that way. Iron, gold, steel, and maybe even materials we dont even know exist yet could be harvested.

@timtrueman we will never be able to build a ship that lets astronauts escape in case of emergency. we can try, but if the liquid hydrogen decides to explode for whatever reason, there is nothing you can do. it simply expands too fast for there to be any kind of reation, even a computerized automated ejection.

EDIT: by the way, I dont care what country is out there exploring space. i have no loyalty for any country at all, i see it as humans exploring space. not USA vs Russia vs China vs Europe, its just humans. and this, the end of the shuttle, is basically the largest and so far best that humans have coming to an end.

lillycoyote's avatar

@timtrueman It is more likely I who am confused. That happens to me, quite often, sadly. Let me get back to you when I actually know what the hell I’m talking about. Sorry, never mind. I can be such an stupid ass sometimes. Please forgive. We shall never speak of this again, if that’s o.k. with you :-)

YARNLADY's avatar

I think the U S action is very short sighted.

timtrueman's avatar

@poisonedantidote The scenario I’m talking about that the space shuttle can’t save astronauts from but just about anything else can save them from is if an engine fails. The space shuttle would fall and explode. A rocket has an escape rocket that would boost the astronauts away. Also the Falcon 9 has 9 engines and can tolerate a lot more failures than a normal rocket. See launch escape system on Wikipedia. (It’s saved two Soyuz missions.)

@Frenchfry SpaceX is an American space company based out of Los Angeles. It was started and is run by PayPal founder Elon Musk (he’s also CEO of Tesla Motors).

@lillycoyote A huge percentage of the components of the space shuttle are built by contractors. Who cares if one contractor builds the entire thing? It’s competition fair and square and they can build it better and cheaper if they do the whole rocket.

Frenchfry's avatar

@timtrueman I am sorry one more question. What exactly do they do at SpaceX? Why didn’t the Paypal guy just invest in NASA itself and build better rockets instead of starting a new business?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@timtrueman They do need more protection thats for sure. but for that, we need more money. what is it again?, $20.000 for every kilo (2 pounds) that we want to put in space? a big safety system would be very expensive.

We either need to find a way of making space exploration exempt from money, or get rid of money, or ally with other countries and pool our resources.

(just to give everyone an idea where im coming from, im a star trek fan. and wont be happy until we at least all work together)

timtrueman's avatar

@Frenchfry Because NASA is big and not as efficient. I can’t remember all the reasons but Elon Musk and company have found a bunch of ways to reduce their cost structure dramatically by doing everything themselves. You can hear them listed in great detail in this fantastic interview.

timtrueman's avatar

@Frenchfry Skip to chapter 12 on that interview…

Frenchfry's avatar

@timtrueman Wow! Check him out. Mars by 2020. He is so down to earth to for a billionaire. Now I feel a litle bit better. alittle bit.

hug_of_war's avatar

No, I’m glad about it

Frenchfry's avatar

@hug_of_war Why? Just curious.

mammal's avatar

i am over the moon.

timtrueman's avatar

There’s actually a bunch of companies springing up to fly into space—it’s not just SpaceX. There’s also Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ company. You might know him better as the founder and CEO of Amazon. They had their first flight back in 2006. Full disclosure: I may know someone who works there.

There’s also The Spaceship Company which builds the spacecraft for Virgin Galactic (the spacecraft was originally developed by Scaled Composites and TSC is a joint venture between Scaled and Virgin). I would highly recommend the founder of Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan’s TED talk on the future of space exploration under private companies. Don’t forget Armadillo Aerospace led by the create of Doom and Quake.

Honestly I think we’re having a renaissance of space exploration—it just might be the one we imagined with daily rocket trips to Mars with the Jetsons.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@timtrueman ; Right now, IMO, you are the coolest guy on the planet for knowing all this stuff.

gene116's avatar

Sad for the 9000+ families that will loose their jobs by the end of next year when they actually shut down operations on the “Space Coast”. It will be a ghostown similar to Detroit. Just sad…

timtrueman's avatar

Where are all these job loss figures coming from? I’ve heard nothing about them. It’s not like they’re shutting down the “Space Coast”; it’s still one of the best places to launch vehicles into orbit (it takes less fuel since the trip into orbit is actually shorter from there and a few other places on Earth, due to the slightly irregular shape of the Earth). Yes, they won’t be launching the space shuttle anymore. There’s a lot more launches than just the space shuttle. Tons of satellites, some of the SpaceX rockets (which will create 5000 direct jobs when Falcon missions start resupplying the ISS) and even USA-212 will or have been launched from there. What’s with the pessimism? Am I missing something? The “Space Coast” isn’t shutting down…

tinyfaery's avatar

Okay by me.

gene116's avatar

I think you are missing something, Tim. Saw the layoffs on CNN this morning. Here’s the link:

timtrueman's avatar

Fair enough. I think it’s a little naive to assume that none of them will be moving to work on other programs or for private space companies. Holy shit they are cutting the space shuttle and let us totally ignore the increased spending in other programs. Yes, pay no attention to those.

rodydoe89's avatar

It’s way more than 1200 people going to be laid off. My uncle has been working in a factory in Louisiana for years (less than two years away from retirement with that company) that makes parts for the shuttles. Last weekend was his final weekend with the company. As of my opinion on shutting down NASA… I can’t really give it to you because it’s not completely formed.

timtrueman's avatar

@rodydoe89 NASA isn’t shutting down. The space shuttle program is only about 30% of its budget (and I’m not even sure they are losing that part of the budget, I think they are just moving it to focus on more important, bang-for-the-buck things—manned space flight is incredibly expensive). I really don’t understand the negative assumptions/conclusions people are jumping to…

rodydoe89's avatar

@timtrueman That’s understandable. But now my uncle is working at a gas station. And he will not receive any retirement benefits, which he most certainly deserves. Before you know it, nothing will be done by man anymore. Everything will be done by robots.

mattbrowne's avatar

Well, maybe it’s time to try something new.

Nullo's avatar

I wouldn’t mind so much if they were going to develop a new launch vehicle and continue with the space exploration (wouldn’t mind a trip to Mars, or even the Moon), but I get the impression that they’re being restricted to monitoring stuff with satellites, and acting on behalf of the federal government to make Muslims feel good about their contributions to science.

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