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The space shuttles, wow!
Posted: 20 May 2010 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]
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It is bitter-sweet, the shuttles will be gone soon.  The end of an important era in technology, and the beginning of a new. 

I have seen one shuttle, the Columbia.  The people gathered to see it fly, the Kennedy space center evacuated the area keeping the people far from the launch vehicle, there the towering spacecraft stood tall, it was far across the water and clearly visible on that sunny day.  Then there was a spark which grew.  The flames illuminated beneath its gigantic engines.  The flames seemed to grow and grow forever.  The vapors enveloped the spacecraft in a cloud, a curtain of mystery just before the grand climb to come.  The engines grew stronger and the flames were visible through the clouds, and grew even brighter the glow of a machine that was about to release itself from the chains of gravity.  Its rumbling engines shook the ground below us, the shuttles’ have earthquake engines.  Then off it goes, that huge tower, that giant machine of tons of metal, oxygen, and hydrogen, I could not believe my eyes, the thing actually lifted itself off the ground!  Everything about those shuttles is amazing!

docked_1640835i.jpg

[ Edited: 20 May 2010 10:58 PM by jump_in_the_pit ]
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Posted: 20 May 2010 10:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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How lucky you are! I have never had the awesome pleasure to see any of the space shuttles. I’d would love to see one just sitting on the ground, minding its own business! I wonder what they will do with the remaining shuttles when they are decommissioned? I hope they keep them intact as museums.

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Posted: 20 May 2010 11:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Well worth the drive from Indianapolis to FL, over 15 hours.  Very well worth it!  grin

[ Edited: 20 May 2010 11:03 PM by jump_in_the_pit ]
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Posted: 21 May 2010 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I recall many years ago when we brought some chemists from our British affiliate to the Rockwell Downey plant to help them connect with the English subcontractors for Rockwell.  I figured that we’d get the standard non-classified tour, but was surprised when one of the Rockwell chemists led us into the cockpit of a Shuttle being built.  Very impressive technology, even to the vacuum toilet.  smile

I would think there would be much more scientific work the shuttles could do, so I’m sorry to see them being phased out.

Occam

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Posted: 21 May 2010 01:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ll just bet it was worth the drive! Occam, you are sooo lucky!!

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Posted: 21 May 2010 03:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Great! I still remember with great fondness a trip our family took to Cape Kennedy many years back: getting to see the huge rockets, bunkers, control rooms, etc. That stuff is the very definition of “cool”. Would love to see a shuttle up close. I imagine they’ll probably move one to the Air and Space Museum in DC eventually.

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Posted: 21 May 2010 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Well, it was only about twenty miles from Los Angeles International Airport where we picked the Brits up, to Downey.  What’s funny, Asanta, is that at the time, since I was dealing with the aerospace industry projects daily, it didn’t seem particularly out of the ordinary.  Only now, when I’m caused to think back, do I realize how fortunate I was to have those experiences.

Occam

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Posted: 21 May 2010 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’m sorry to see them go as well, but at the same time I’m excited to see what’s on board to replace them.  Oh I hope they power it with compressed air.  Or, better yet, anti-gravity.  Oh god yes.

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Posted: 21 May 2010 04:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’m afraid it won’t be anything that romantic — probably just a few structures and some equipment upgraded or modernized.  We haven’t really devloped any new portable sources of energy more efficient pound for pound than liquified oxygen and low molecular weight hydrocarbons.  Even if the air were liquified, it would contribute only the energy of expansion while the liquid oxygen and hydrocarbon would contribute both that and the combustion energy.  I’ll check the anti-gravity link, but I’m not too sanguine.

Occam

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Posted: 21 May 2010 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I have high hopes for the Corioliseffect [sic] based perpetual motion machine.

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Posted: 21 May 2010 05:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I checked out the anti-gravity link, and it’s just speculation.  The first anti-gravity demonstration I saw was in 1940 at the New York World’s Faire.  General Electric had an electromagnet about the side of the old style wringer washing machines and they were able to float an aluminum plate about six inches above it.  It was very impressive to me as a nine year old. 

However, as I see it, this concept breaks down into three categories.  1. Something that generates more force in the opposite direction of the pull of gravity - our present rocket engines.  2. Something that seems to turn gravity against itself so it would push away from the earth rather than being pulled toward it.  Unfortunately, as soon as it got away from any strong gravity force, it would be useless.  3.  Something that generates a huge amount of force or mechanical energy so that the vehicle can accelerate to extremely high speeds.  Unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything that offers more energy than simple nuclear fission or fusion.  So, I don’t have much hope for this solution in the foreseeable future.

Occam

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Posted: 21 May 2010 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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K…

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Posted: 21 May 2010 08:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Occam - 21 May 2010 10:51 AM

Well, it was only about twenty miles from Los Angeles International Airport where we picked the Brits up, to Downey.  What’s funny, Asanta, is that at the time, since I was dealing with the aerospace industry projects daily, it didn’t seem particularly out of the ordinary.  Only now, when I’m caused to think back, do I realize how fortunate I was to have those experiences.

Occam

  LOL I know what you mean, I have some of those from my childhood!

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Posted: 21 May 2010 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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dougsmith - 21 May 2010 03:49 AM

Great! I still remember with great fondness a trip our family took to Cape Kennedy many years back: getting to see the huge rockets, bunkers, control rooms, etc. That stuff is the very definition of “cool”. Would love to see a shuttle up close. I imagine they’ll probably move one to the Air and Space Museum in DC eventually.

Or the Smithsonian. I sure hope so, I would make a special trip to see one!

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Posted: 22 May 2010 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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asanta - 21 May 2010 08:46 PM
dougsmith - 21 May 2010 03:49 AM

Great! I still remember with great fondness a trip our family took to Cape Kennedy many years back: getting to see the huge rockets, bunkers, control rooms, etc. That stuff is the very definition of “cool”. Would love to see a shuttle up close. I imagine they’ll probably move one to the Air and Space Museum in DC eventually.

Or the Smithsonian. I sure hope so, I would make a special trip to see one!

I think Air & Space is part of the Smithsonian, though someone from DC may know better ...

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Posted: 22 May 2010 11:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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dougsmith - 22 May 2010 05:56 AM

I think Air & Space is part of the Smithsonian, though someone from DC may know better ...

It is, I missed the DC part of your answer and assumed you were referring to perhaps another Air and Space museum!

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