European Drawer Rack
Can you get that in Ikea?
Europe finally gained its long-awaited foothold in space yesterday when astronauts attached the Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station, Reuters reports. Columbus attached to the ISS. Photo: NASA The $1.9 billion, ten-tonne cylinder (in pic, centre) took off aboard space shuttle Atlantis last Thursday following …
According to Wikipedia - and they have many 'insider' contributors on 'space' matters - the International Space Station is only planned to be operating until 2016. Now, we can probably add a few years to that, but it still means the whole thing is just eating taxpayers money.
Why can't they keep the darn thing up there 'forever' - just replacing bits as they become unreliable or obsolete? Isn't that the whole point of modular building?
After all, my grandmother's broom has been in the family for generations ... it's had three new heads and many new handles - but it's the same broom.
Dumping the lot after a decade is dangerous, stupid ... and a gross waste of my cash!
...we actually had much to do with the ISS.
I might be wrong (it's been known) but since the UK doesn't officially support manned space flight aren't we locked out of all these sort of contracts? It's highly unlikely any of our tax cash went into the ISS, let alone contracts we would be allowed to bid on if our government actually got off it's arse and agreed manned space flight was A Good Thing (tm).
Paris, coz she needs to be blasted into space...
I think you're referring to Spacelab (sometimes called Eurolab), which was a collection of palletised experiment units designed to fit in the shuttle's cargo bay, including a pressurised lab unit that was linked to the shuttle's cargo bay airlock. It was decomissioned about ten years ago.
Though that raises an interesting question. Why didn't NASA ever build a shuttle with no cargo bay - i.e extend the pressure hull all the way back to the rear engines. Such a configuration would have plenty of space for experiments, and be able to support long duration missions, and would surely have been easier and cheaper than building a space station.
No, it's mostly the Germans & Italians that actually get anything done in the ESA. The British just whinge about how expensive it all is, and launch probes to Mars that are never heard from again.
The Germans built most of this lab, and the Italians built the MPLMs, which are large payload canisters that are temporarily attached during Shuttle visits and use the same structural design. The Jules Verne ATV is mostly French, but it's basically an MPLM with rockets, guidance, and an optical auto-dock system.
The Germans are also running the ground station for Columbus lab in Munich. So if you watch NASA Select, there's now radio calls from Houston, Munich, and the Russian ground station (can't remember the name)
The 2016 closure date has nothing to do with the ISS being life-expired at that time; it's because NASA have no plans to budget for the ISS beyond 2015. Their plan is to switch funding from the ISS to the Orion/Ares lunar exploration programme with a landing on the Moon by 2020.
The remaining partners in the programme, Japan, Europe and Russia, want to keep the ISS open beyond 2015 but have so far refused to pay the additional contributions if the Americans pull out.
To paraphrase: at launch it carried five ISPRs, including the European Physiology Modules Facility, European Drawer Rack and European Transport Carrier. If those three things with "European" in their names weren't a European foothold in space, why is this fourth thing with "European" in its name being hailed as such?
@ Mike - Thanks for that ... they can keep on spending my cash, then!
At least for now - though I can see fights ahead, as 2016 gets nearer!
@ Dimitrov - And you should see the family hammer!
@ Rob - We Brits certainly whinge most about the investment, but we also pay. Some direct money goes in, and I believe the EU adds more, in our name.
As an 'enthusiast' since the Goons recorded A Russian Love Song and Russia launched the Sputnik, I don't begrudge a penny that's spent wisely. Trouble with Europe, is the word 'Wisely' has been deleted from every dictionary (along with 'gullible').
"There is a Russian satellite moon over Arkansas, Mr President"
"Thank heaven it is not over America
Coulda been George W!"
> Maybe physics makes all space modules look like a giant can of worms...
No, the Shuttle cargo bay makes all space modules look like a giant can of worms.
If you have REAL launchers, you get something looking like Skylab, or maybe MIR.
It's sad to remember we used to have a rocket that could have put ISS up in one and a half launches.
"It's unfortunate, but the way the American people are, now that they have developed all this capability, instead of taking advantage of it, they'll probably just piss it all away."
-- President Lyndon Johnson, on the Apollo program
@Brett: I believe the space shuttle needs to open its cargo bay doors to radiate heat, as part of its design. (Failing to open the doors was a worry in earlier
missions). Remember, its a nice, insulated container to avoid baking on
re-entry. Just sealing the shuttle is not as easy as it sounds.
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