back to article Two Shuttles hit by fuel tank problems

Space shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour, the next two planned to fly, may have technical problems with their external fuel tanks. Both spacecraft are due to roll out to launch pads at the Kennedy Space Centre. NASA has just rescheduled roll-out of Atlantis to Kennedy's Launch Complex 39A, moving the event back from August 30th …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    And the Culprit?

    It sounds like the culprit might have bolted...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heavy Landing?

    From the dates given it suggests that Endeavour must already be loaded with the Logistics Module and would have to launch and land with it still on board in the event of a rescue mission.

    I know the shuttle has brought duff satellites back to earth before, but I would have thought that's an unusually heavy landing?

    Or would they just ditch it in space?

  3. Joe Cooper

    @Heavy Landing

    I'm assuming they wouldn't load it until after the Hubble mission.

    However, the STS _can_ return up to 50,000 pounds of cargo from space.

    That's the main advantage of it over a traditional launch vehicle.

  4. Zmodem

    sound like the barrings are gone

    or lack of oil. could of always been the fan belt

  5. Anonymous John

    @. Heavy Landing?

    Shuttle payloads are loaded at the launch pad. The logistics module won't even be delivered to the pad until the first Shuttle returns safely.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    That comment would have been funny if you had been able to spell "bearings" properly...

    Or at least it "could of" (could have) been... :-)

  7. BlueGreen

    "sound like the barrings are gone"

    I think not. It's most likely the suspension.

    Ta, the one with a white elephant on the back, with a speck of teflon to pretend it isn't.

  8. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    So the Russian Dolls win round two sweet !

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Heavy Landing

    not a problem according to the wiki

    Empty weight: 68,585 kg (151,205 lb)

    Gross Liftoff Weight: 109,000 kg (240,000 lb)

    Maximum Landing Weight: 104,000 kg (230,000 lb)

    after manuervering and reentry burn, I'm sure it will be within spec.

  10. Alex Brett


    They only load the payloads at the launch pad (if they didn't, then they'd have big problems maintaining power and cooling connections when they moved everything out (not to mention vibrations - obviously the payload has to survive them during launch, but that's a different type of vibration to the ones you get while going along the crawlerways)).

    They send the payloads out to the pad before the shuttle, and then load them in once the shuttle gets there - I'd assume therefore they can just not load it and keep the payload in the rotating service structure if the rescue mission is needed, or just 'extract' it (ultimately if the rescue mission is needed, the likelihood is the shutles won't fly ever again, so the payload is basically useless at that point...)

  11. Simon B

    As well built as


  12. Paul Williams

    @Heavy Landing

    Could they go up, bolt the module onto the ISS and *then* do a rescue?

    I guess it would depend on why a rescue was needed, and wether it was time criticial (oxygen leak, for example), or non time critical (catastrophic damage to heat resistant tiles...)

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Somewhere this problem will inevitably be traced back to

    the Lucas electrical system.

    Mine's the White suit

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @Paul Williams

    Wouldn't the suggestion that the shuttle cant get to the ISS from hubble kind of indicate that the rescue craft would not be able to go to the ISS then to hubble?

  15. Anonymous John

    @Heavy Landing

    "Could they go up, bolt the module onto the ISS and *then* do a rescue?"

    No. The ISS and Hubble are in different orbits. THe Shuttle can't travel from one to another.

  16. Chris Campbell


    "The factory where the huge orange external tanks are made, at Michoud near New Orleans, is scheduled to close down starting from this autumn, with massive loss of jobs."

    Maybe someone at the factory wanted to go out with a bang... ba doom tish

  17. Bill Gould

    I can't imagine...

    ...why QA/QC would go to shit after it was announced that the vast majority were being cut. Do they have no pride in the disposable garbage they toss in the ocean?

  18. Adrian Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Anonymous John

    "No. The ISS and Hubble are in different orbits. THe Shuttle can't travel from one to another."

    Further to that, a back of the envelope calculation made in another forum gave the result that getting between the orbits of ISS and Hubble would take nearly as much propellant (~80%) as it takes to get into orbit in the first place!

  19. TJ
    Thumb Up

    @Simon B

    Do you really think the "iShuttle" would have fared much better? "Photoshopping the ISS since 1999"

    I for one hate the Idea of mothballing these things. I know the economics are hideous, But I think they should be put in a hanger and readied for future "Just in Case" scenarios. These things ARE space accomplishments for the past 30 years. I'm a fan of adding the Orion to the list of launch vehicles, not taking away from the list. Why leave ourselves with only one option?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    NASA is sleepwalking into disaster

    The Shuttle hardware is now demonstrably beyond its safe operating lifetime, and every mission squeezed in before the current retirement date is a step closer to the brink of another catastrophe. Not that the completion of the ISS and the repair of Hubble are not worthy goals, but, given that Cold War II is just firing up and NASA has bugger-all chance of getting Constellation aloft any time soon (if at all, what with the time and budget over-runs, the infighting, the abiding lack of ambition), I strongly suspect that the sight of another Shuttle strewn across the Midwest in a million and one easily eBayable pieces will be the last nail in NASA's coffin: Congress will pull the plug and the rest of us will be left to fend off the creationists without the perspectives available to us from outside the atmosphere.

    I missed being alive for the last moon landing by a couple of months: I do rather hope I don't miss the next one.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    the shuttle fleet shuts down just before comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova intersects Earth's orbit in 2011. No chance of blasting it out of the sky without orbiters, if it's on impact trajectory. Brilliant.

  22. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    I was alive for the last moon landing.

    "I missed being alive for the last moon landing by a couple of months: I do rather hope I don't miss the next one."

    Take it from me - it's no big deal. Unless you're doing it, I suppose...

    Paris, because landing in France is always a big deal....and many other puns too poor to mention.

  23. Charles Manning
    Thumb Up

    Rattling is good

    Still hasn't fallen of then. Haven't got the money to afford another one!

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