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  NASA shuttle to launch Luke's lightsaber (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   NASA shuttle to launch Luke's lightsaber
Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2007 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE: NASA shuttle to launch Luke's lightsaber
Space shuttle Discovery and the crew of STS-120 are scheduled to launch in October with the second multi-port node for the international space station. Along with them for the ride will be the original prop lightsaber used by Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in the movie "Star Wars". Before leaving the planet, the lightsaber will depart Lucasfilm in Calif. for Space Center Houston with a Star Wars-studded send off.

Greggy_D
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posted 08-28-2007 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool.

1202 Alarm
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posted 08-28-2007 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 1202 Alarm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pathetic.

I love space. I love humans in space. And sometimes I have to explain to my friends why we need manned missions.

I tell then about all the things only humans can do, compare to robots, though with the Mars missions it's a bit hard to do. I tell them about the moon, but they want to know why we circle the earth with the shuttle, why the ISS.

Well... I hope they won't read that stupid info. If that's all we can do to make a space programm 'cool', it's just sad.

Leon Ford
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posted 08-28-2007 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Leon Ford   Click Here to Email Leon Ford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Look, I am a big Star Wars fan and a fan of NASA, but why does this item get to go up on the shuttle and something that I would like to send up of my own doesn't get to go? Is Lucasfilm paying to have this item flown? If not, why not? Who did they know to get this on the shuttle?

Bill Hunt
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posted 08-28-2007 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure Lucasfilm is paying. This is part of a big 30th anniversary promotional effort.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2007 02:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure Lucasfilm is paying for the pre-flight promotion (such as today's festivities, which is why NASA isn't party to the press release) but I strongly doubt that Lucasfilm is paying for the lightsaber's launch.

Jamestown didn't pay for its 400-year old shipping tag to fly earlier this year, nor did Panzone's Pizzeria pay to fly its t-shirt on Endeavour earlier this month.

The lightsaber will fly in the STS-120 official flight kit, just as the colonial tag and t-shirt did on prior missions. Its flight comes at practically no cost to NASA: the external tank will be filled -- with or without the lightsaber -- to loft the 30,000 pound Harmony Node 2, not to mention the 176,419 pound shuttle Discovery, in addition to its seven-person crew and other cargo. Five pounds (if that) will hardly register on the scale.

The official flight kit exists to provide a means for NASA and the astronauts to thank the organizations that have supported their work and mission. If you were to poll the engineers working at NASA facilities today, you would find many that credit Star Wars (and similar franchises, such as Star Trek) with providing them the initial inspiration to pursue a space career. NASA is flying the lightsaber in celebration of Star Wars' 30th anniversary.

Steven Kaplan
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posted 08-28-2007 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steven Kaplan   Click Here to Email Steven Kaplan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Leon. NASA has had enough public relations headaches lately, and I hope this doesn't become another.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2007 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Leon Ford:
...why does this item get to go up on the shuttle and something that I would like to send up of my own doesn't get to go?
Leon, were you friends with an astronaut on an upcoming shuttle mission, s/he could fly something of yours inside his/her PPK. Would you expect others here to criticize you for having your item flown when theirs is not?

That said, the lightsaber is not for an individual and therefore is flying in the official flight kit. OFK items are limited to organizations/companies only: no personal memorabilia allowed.

Leon Ford
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posted 08-28-2007 02:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Leon Ford   Click Here to Email Leon Ford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, guess I stepped on someone's toes there!

No Robert, I was not talking about the astronauts taking things up for themselves or friends. (If I had an astronaut friend who would take up something for me, I don't care what these folks around here would say!!)

What I was asking about was why are some companies and organizations allowed to send things up on the shuttle, and the American people, who pay taxes for the shuttle, can't send something up.

Again, I am a Star Wars fan, but I don't know of anything that George Lucas and Lucasfilms has ever really done for anyone other than make money. I don't remember him making a contribution to NASA to help out with a mission. (Maybe NASA has been using some extra X-Wing fighter parts on the shuttle I don't know about.)

I just know there are some average people out there who would love to have something sent up on the shuttle and there is no way to have it done. Just doesn't seem fair.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2007 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Leon Ford:
OK, guess I stepped on someone's toes there!
No toes were injured in the making of this thread.

As I mentioned earlier, what Lucas provided through his films was inspiration. There are many, many NASA employees who credit "Star Wars" for their initial interest and excitement in space, and the same can be said for many people who didn't go to work for the space program but who support NASA in their own ways.

I could see the confusion if this was a prop from "The Godfather" or even "The Lord of the Rings", which has absolutely no relationship to inspiring thoughts about space exploration, but Star Wars came out at a time when we weren't doing much in the way of real human spaceflight, and thus caught a lot of attention by those who desired to see us reach galaxies far, far away.

That, and Star Wars has become an American icon, followed by millions. The lightsaber on STS-120 is similar in that regard to the baseball on STS-118.

NASA choosing to fly the lightsaber is, I suspect, an attempt to reach out to the average American by recognizing a part of the culture they all share and enjoy.

mjanovec
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posted 08-28-2007 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought I was just being sour grapes when I intially read this news and didn't like the idea of the prop being flown in space.

Upon further thought, I think I dislike the idea mostly because it's a distraction from the real accomplishments of the mission. Just like more people will remember Sunni Williams space marathon more than any experiment she conducted on the ISS, more people may end up reading about this lightsaber than reading about the accomplishments of the STS-120 crew.

I just think that in light of the bad press NASA has had over the past year, there should be extra emphasis on eliminating things that distract the media from the real mission at hand. Go ahead and fly the lightsaber if one wants to do a personal favor to Lucas and company. Just don't draw any attention to it.

Then again, perhaps Lucas insisted on flying the lightsaber in light of the ISS looking more and more like a ti-fighter.

Greggy_D
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posted 08-28-2007 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Think of the uproar if NASA flew Lucas himself. In that light, the lightsaber isn't such a bad idea.

lewarren
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posted 08-28-2007 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lewarren   Click Here to Email lewarren     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
I think I dislike the idea mostly because it's a distraction from the real accomplishments of the mission. Just like more people will remember Sunni Williams space marathon more than any experiment she conducted on the ISS, more people may end up reading about this lightsaber than reading about the accomplishments of the STS-120 crew.

So what if more people remember Suni's marathon than her experiments? In my opinion, it's a good thing when the average American citizen sees the human side of space. That's not to say that I think it's a good thing that the average American citizen only sees the human interest stories. There is a balance.

I believe that the lightsaber flying on STS-120 will bring some positive press to NASA, and may even pique the interest of some average American citizens who may not otherwise pay any attention to the mission.

On a personal note, I was born in 1973. The Star Wars films had a tremendous influence on my life and I partially credit George Lucas with turning my eyes to the stars and to a career at NASA.

fireflyer21
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posted 08-28-2007 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fireflyer21   Click Here to Email fireflyer21     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My initial reaction to this story was negative as well, but then I considered the fact that the first shuttle was named after a fictional starship. In that context, and if it generates interest, it's not so bad.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2007 11:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Leon Ford:
What I was asking about was why are some companies and organizations allowed to send things up on the shuttle, and the American people, who pay taxes for the shuttle, can't send something up.
I was in a bit of a rush earlier, as I was replying while waiting to be escorted to the airport gate where the lightsaber would arrive.

During the event, I did inquire as to why, specifically, Lucasfilm was invited to fly something on the shuttle. It seems it wasn't Lucas' idea at all, but rather the initiative of someone within NASA who was a fan of the films who started the ball rolling. There were apparently enough people within NASA who thought it was a good idea to eventually gain approval and approach Lucasfilm.

I plan to follow-up with NASA to learn who those people were and what motivated their suggestion(s).

Jay Chladek
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posted 08-28-2007 11:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am a Star Wars fan myself and a big shuttle fan. I say if somebody at NASA wants it flown, then fly it. Besides, if Gene Roddenberry's ashes can have a shuttle ride, why not something from SW? Nasa's own people at JSC have had their own morale hurt by the past year's negative publicity and unlike us, they have been on the FRONT LINES. First there was Nowak's love triangle, then the contractor shooting, then the over active press going after the rumored astronaut drinking (fallout from the Nowak fiasco).

Although I am sure their kids take interest in what they do, they probably don't understand it too much. But, when you can tell your kid you helped Luke's lightsaber take a ride into space on the shuttle, I'll bet their ears would perk up big time. If it helps lighten the mood around NASA and give them something to talk about other then topics that are either work related or something that looks more like a tabloid front page headline, I say go for it.

BTW, anyone want to hold bets as to if the Star Wars theme music might be used for wakeup music on one of the flight days?

FFrench
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posted 08-29-2007 12:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it's a good idea... it will make it so much easier to do inflight tile repairs on the shuttle's underside...

Lunar rock nut
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posted 08-29-2007 07:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I want to see the video clip of the astronaut that gets caught playing with it doing jedi flips in zero gravity!

jimsz
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posted 08-29-2007 07:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The only thing that NASA will get out of this is bad publicity, except for Star Wars fans.

NASA has enough of a PR problem with their current claim to fame for manned missions being operating a spacebound trucking fleet, a partnership in a manned space station that does little except require repairs and a disturbed female astronaut wearing a diaper while driving across country.

NASA needs to reexamine at what they are doing and how they are perceived by the taxpayers. This is yet another boondoggle.

Besides, just wait until the Trekkies mount their counter-offensive.

tegwilym
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posted 08-29-2007 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"That's no moon, that's a space station...."

As for the Suni Williams marathon, I'll just say at least it gets the public's attention to the space program. You have to remember that most people don't know there is a space station, believe the moon landings were real, or that the Rovers are still roving!

mjanovec
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posted 08-29-2007 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tegwilym:
As for the Suni Williams marathon, I'll just say at least it gets the public's attention to the space program.

To clarify, I have no problem with Suni running the marathon and I think some coverage of the event is just fine. But it really irked me that when I went to the ISS website a few months back, I found four links on the home page to coverage of the marathon, but NO links that actually pointed me to a page that discussed what science (if any) is being conducted on the ISS. I had to dig deep to find anything that even remotely touched upon the scientific aspects of the mission.

I prefer there to be a balance. Lightsabers are fine as long as NASA takes time to attempt to convey what the new module will do for the ISS and how it will be employed. If all the tax-paying public sees are marathons and lightsabers, they may be less willing to support NASA programs in the future.

As an example on the opposite end of the spectrum, the public does appear to support the Hubble Space Telescope, even if they don't understand all of the science it produces. When plans to service the Hubble were dropped, I don't think NASA was prepared for the outcry from the public. The Hubble is an example of how you can gain public support without having to resort to lightsabers to make the news. Granted, the Hubble has produced some amazing images that many people can enjoy just for aesthetic reasons. But I think many can appreciate the science it produces without needing to see those images.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2007 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
But I think many can appreciate the science it produces without needing to see those images.
The images are alone what sells the telescope's value to public, as they believe the images are the science. Imagine if NASA launched HST and never released a single pretty picture: do you really think there would be anywhere near the public support it currently enjoys? The same can be said for the Mars rovers. If Pathfinder hadn't beamed back images of itself roving up to rocks, I doubt you'd see the public responding to the missions as they have.

The same is essentially true for the ISS. While everyone likes to hear about the science being conducted, the public really doesn't care about that. If they did, the promise of such science would be enough to generate support. What motivates the public are the pretty images of Earth and the video of astronauts doing things in space that they can directly relate to on the ground (like eating M&Ms and playing with a baseball).

I would love it if the public would embrace a deeper understanding of why we explore space, but that interest has never materialized (not even during Apollo, as evident by the steep decline in interest after the first moon landing).

Does that mean that NASA should toss its hands in the air and give up trying to explain the science and engineering behind what they do? No. But using items such as a lightsaber or Jamestown settlement artifact to engage the public is a great way to grab their attention and then try to pique their interest in more.

mjanovec
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posted 08-29-2007 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The images are alone what sells the telescope's value to public, as they believe the images are the science.
As an optical instrument, the whole foundation of the Hubble is based on the images it provides. There is indeed science in those images...even the pretty ones. However, I think you are underselling Hubble by quite a bit to think the public only cares for the prettiest images it produces. I have seen countless articles over the past 15 years where the Hubble has been credited for helping re-shape our theories of the universe. And many of those articles did NOT include pretty pictures in them. Some of the photos were quite unspectucular until you read the article and realized the significance of what the images were showing.

For anyone with even a remote interest in Astronomy, they will know that the Hubble has essentially re-written astronomy textbooks since it has been put into service. Again, one doesn't need pretty pictures to appreciate that.

In contrast, I challenge most people to name one significant scientific experiment performed on the ISS. It's not that I necessarily doubt important science is taking place aboard the ISS (or may someday take place there), it's that the general public is likely to never hear anything about it (even if they WANT to hear about it). Why isn't NASA making a greater effort to talk about what they are using the ISS for? As a human spaceflight enthusiast myself, I would like to know more about why we are building the ISS and what we're going to do with it once it's "complete" (other than abandon it, which seems to be our current plan). If a spaceflight enthusiast is sometimes left to wonder what's going on with the ISS, the average person doesn't stand a chance.

To me, lightsabers are a poor substitute for a reason of why we're spending billions to build the ISS. I don't need spaceflight dumbed-down to make me interested in it. Nor should I think it be dumbed-down for the general public. Perhaps I'm alone in this, but I was more inspired watching Story Musgrave fix the Hubble than I will ever be by knowing a film prop is flying somewhere aboard the shuttle.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2007 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
As an optical instrument, the whole foundation of the Hubble is based on the images it provides. There is indeed science in those images... even the pretty ones.
Yes, but for the most part, the images released to the public are colorized for aesthetics as a PR tool to expose the public to the science behind the images. For example, the annual red and green images released for Christmas and the requisite "fireworks" shot every July 4.
quote:
For anyone with even a remote interest in Astronomy, they will know that the Hubble has essentially re-written astronomy textbooks since it has been put into service.
So did Compton, as has Chandra and Spitzer -- why aren't they just as popular as Hubble? Could it be that their spectrums are outside the optical?
quote:
In contrast, I challenge most people to name one significant scientific experiment performed on the ISS.
Did the public know about the great science Hubble was doing before it was repaired? The ISS is still under assembly. Its largest laboratory hasn't even been launched yet, not to mention that its crew compliment doesn't expand to support full time science operations until 2009. That said, to cite your earlier example, I have seen numerous articles about space station science, from growing perfect crystals to making discoveries (by happenstance would you believe) about planetary formation. But I suspect the best is in front of us, after the ISS is complete and the crew increases to six members.
quote:
I don't need spaceflight dumbed-down to make me interested in it. Nor should I think it be dumbed-down for the general public. Perhaps I'm alone in this, but I was more inspired watching Story Musgrave fix the Hubble than I will ever be by knowing a film prop is flying somewhere aboard the shuttle.
But with all due respect, you're part of the "choir". You're already sold on space exploration and have the attention span to pay attention to a space walk. Is flying a lightsaber that much different than Story Musgrave (and crew) filming a segment for the TV sitcom "Tool Time" on that same Hubble repair mission?

jimsz
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posted 08-29-2007 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But the shuttle and the ISS are simply seen and for the most are only work horses, akin to a semi truck.

The ISS is a boondoggle in every sense. The crew size averages only enough to keep the station running, not doing anything else.

The US should not be involve in the ISS IMHO. If the Russians want to open a space hotel and charge billionaires to stay, i should be done without the American taxpayer footing the bulk of the bill.

The ISS will be a money pit for a decade or two with little if anything in return. It is my belief that NASA got involved with the ISS simply because they had no plans or goals and needed something to justify the continued spending on the shuttle fleet.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2007 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jimsz:
But the shuttle and the ISS are simply seen and for the most are only work horses, akin to a semi truck.
And is operational experience in maintaining space facilities (and the human body) for long durations a useless skill? Won't we need this experience if we want to operate a base on the Moon or Mars?
quote:
The crew size averages only enough to keep the station running, not doing anything else.
You forgot a word: "now". In 2009, the crew expands to six, enabling full time science.

mjanovec
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posted 08-29-2007 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Is flying a lightsaber that much different than Story Musgrave (and crew) filming a segment for the TV sitcom "Tool Time" on that same Hubble repair mission?
Yes, because Story's appearance was based on a real accomplishment. The lightsaber represents a fictional event.

To be perfectly honest, I have never seen more than highlight reels of Story's spacewalk. Yet I found that repair mission inspirational at a time in my life when I wasn't following the shuttle very much at all. To me, this accomplishment was simply amazing...and was one of the things that really re-energized my interest in human spaceflight. To me, it's the kind of thing NASA needs to promote more of.

Flying a plastic or metal movie prop on the shuttle is simply no substitute for the inspiration one can derive from REAL accomplishments in space. I think the lightsaber can only serve to distract from the amazing work that I know the STS-120 crew will do. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, however...

FFrench
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posted 08-29-2007 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Continuing my thoughts on easy tile repair...

FFrench
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posted 08-29-2007 06:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert:
NASA choosing to fly the lightsaber is, I suspect, an attempt to reach out to the average American by recognizing a part of the culture they all share and enjoy.
I just had an E-mail from a friend who is a huge Star Wars fan, not really interested in the space program... apparently the Star Wars message boards are all ablaze about this, and they wanted to know where they could buy the mission patch for this flight. So, rightly or wrongly, it appears to be working in generating excitement and interest in people who don't normally follow shuttle missions.

jimsz
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posted 08-29-2007 09:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
And is operational experience in maintaining space facilities (and the human body) for long durations a useless skill? Won't we need this experience if we want to operate a base on the Moon or Mars?
Yes we will. But, thats not the reason we have been simply sending maintenance people back and forth. The ISS was supposed to be flying full crews quite some time ago. I seriously doubt they ever will do very much research.
quote:
You forgot a word: "now". In 2009, the crew expands to six, enabling full time science.
No, I didn't forget the word "now" as the ISS was supposed to be running with a full crew by now. If there was a serious interest in using it for the reasons it was originally proposed, it would not be a floating hotel room for whomever can pony-up millions of dollars.

I personally believe the US should never have gone into the ISS and did a solo station. My preference would be the US pulls out of is asap and devotes the time and money and resources to something other than the shuttle and the ISS.

Jay Chladek
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posted 08-29-2007 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All things considered, I still think it is cool. And if people in NASA wanted to have it flown, I say GO FOR IT. Plenty of other stuff has flown on shuttles, from pieces of history (a piece of a Wright flyer went up on Challenger when it blew apart and was found intact in the debris), to flags, to Superbowl footballs (STS-27), to school pictures, to artificats from Jamestown, to Gene Roddenberry's ashes. This stuff HAS BEEN FLYING INTO SPACE SINCE THE SHUTTLE HAS! It has gone back to before that with the stuff that was sent to the Moon in the Apollo flight kits (not the Astronauts personal kits). I don't think they did it on Gemini and in Mercury it was personal stuff stashed in the capsule by the astronauts and some ground crew members rather then through NASA channels (Mercury dimes in LB7 anyone?)

Why should we be getting bent out of shape about the Lightsaber now? Nasa's policies about flying stuff like this have been clear cut to my knowledge and no backhanded deals were made to get this done (except for the idea maybe coming from guys on NASA's side who wanted to make it happen and them getting in touch with LFL to do it).

If people are going to get bent out of shape over it, using the crap related to Nowak that has been going on for the past year as an excuse NOT to fly it, then it truely is PC gone amuck. Why should policy change in the interest of not wanting to attract a bad publicity backlash from it, just because it happens to be occuring within a year of a certain former astronaut doing something REALLY stupid? I say Fly it!

This could potentially bring in some good PR that can't be achieved elsewhere. Its not NASA's fault that the general public is too fickle to recognize when things are being done in their best interests and they would rather focus on what some might describe as a publicity stunt. Granted some things could be adjusted to help with that on the websites, but that would still wouldn't do much as most of the general public just pass this stuff by and still don't care one way or the other.

In my own situation, I was too young to remember Apollo at all from that period, except for what footage aired on episodes of "Six Million Dollar Man" and PBS shows. So Star Wars was a BIG inspiration to me when it hit the screens in 1977. I am not the only one either as SW probably acted as a similar springboard for others who started their own space dreams at that time, much in the same fashion that Star Trek did a decade earlier.

As for the ISS arguement, IMHO it is an old arguement for another thread. There are always going to be entrenched parties on either side. I just hope this thread doesn't become yet another round of THAT debate. I could get into it myself, but this isn't the place for it.

mercsim
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posted 08-30-2007 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mercsim   Click Here to Email mercsim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Its things like this that inspire and excite our imaginations. There was a lot of criticism for John Glenn's Shuttle flight, yet look at the PR that surrounded it. We must do whatever we can to inspire dreams and keep reaching for the stars.

If flying an artifact from one of Americas (or the worlds) greatest culture icons helps spark dreams, then we should be flying more....

We must keep reaching for the stars or we'll never get there...

jimsz
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posted 08-30-2007 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Instead of flying articles like a movie prop, I would rather NASA allow the taxpayers who pay for all of this to request something of theirs be flown.

For each flight, list the specs of 1,2, whatever # items, and have people enter their name for a drawing to fly their item.

I think that would excite more people and have the general public show more interest.

Something like a lightsaber prop will get the star war fans all excited and to the rest of the population it will be simply "that's what we are paying for?".

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-30-2007 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure what this fascination is with taxpayers, as it suggests that George Lucas, Lucasfilms' employees, and/or Lucasfilm itself doesn't pay taxes as well.

With regards to what can be flown in the OFK, it's spelled out in the Federal Code: Title 14, Volume 5, Part 1214.6: Mementos Aboard Space Shuttle Flights. Specifically, "Items carried in an OFK or a PPK will not be... used or transferred for personal gain," which limits NASA from using what they fly as lottery awards, even if the "tickets" are free.

That said, I agree -- I would love it if NASA would fly items for the public, and in the months prior to the loss of Columbia, that possibility came closer to being a reality. Unfortunately, the accident canceled such ideas.

I just don't see why it has to be either/or: what does flying the lightsaber have to do with flying items for the public? Were the lightsaber not manifested, there would still be no mechanism to launch personal items.

jimsz
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posted 08-30-2007 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I'm not sure what this fascination is with taxpayers, as it suggests that George Lucas, Lucasfilms' employees, and/or Lucasfilm itself doesn't pay taxes as well.
Yes they are taxpayers but the prop is not flying because he is a tax payer, it's flying because it is a movie prop.
quote:
Specifically, "Items carried in an OFK or a PPK will not be... used or transferred for personal gain," which limits NASA from using what they fly as lottery awards, even if the "tickets" are free.
Well I disagree. The prop is owner by Lucas (or a company) and he will find a way to profit from it.

If profit were not allowed there would not be so many items being auctioned from Astronaut PPK kits.

quote:
I just don't see why it has to be either/or: what does flying the lightsaber have to do with flying items for the public?
It makes NASA look cheap and resorting to gimmicks to get people interested. These type of things will usually backfire. I am confident there will be more bad publicity/commentary out of this than good, or it will simply be another punchline.

NASA can do better.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-30-2007 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jimsz:
If profit were not allowed there would not be so many items being auctioned from Astronaut PPK kits.
Yes, astronauts are permitted to sell items from their PPKs after they have retired from the space agency. However, they are no longer permitted to carry covers or legal tender money, along with other items that are perceived as having a commercial resale value. Further, if the astronaut's intent by flying an item is to offer it for sale, that item is banned from the mission.

Lucasfilm is hardly hurting for money, so the idea that they would need to go to the extent of flying a prop (already valued by Star Wars fans at several hundred thousand dollars) in space as a money-making scheme seems a bit farcical. And as already mentioned, this wasn't their idea, it was NASA's and it falls into a long history of flying items for organizations that have served to inspire the public about space exploration (past flights have carried items for the National Space Society, Space Camp, Star Trek and Disney, to name just a few).

jimsz
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posted 08-30-2007 08:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
And as already mentioned, this wasn't their idea, it was NASA's and it falls into a long history of flying items for organizations that have served to inspire the public about space exploration (past flights have carried items for the National Space Society, Space Camp, Star Trek and Disney, to name just a few).
My only point is NASA can do better. They have even less positive PR and support than after the moon missions. NASA could be doing so much more to put a positive and professional face on the agency and their newsmaker is a movie prop.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-19-2007 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lucasfilm / Space Center Houston release
Countdown Is On For Star Wars Movie Artifact

Astronaut Jim Reilly accepts Luke Skywalker's Jedi lightsaber from R2D2 on
NASA's behalf at Kennedy Space Center.

Jedi Lightsaber From Return of the Jedi Ready For Launch; Discovery Astronauts To Receive Best Wishes from Star Wars Fans

Luke Skywalker's original Jedi lightsaber, the famous movie prop from the Star Wars saga is now aboard space shuttle Discovery as it waits for its scheduled October 23rd launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

The Jedi lightsaber has been carefully stowed aboard Discovery and will fly into space with the seven STS-120 astronauts to the International Space Station before returning to Earth 14 days later to mark the legendary film's 30th anniversary.

During the two-week mission, Star Wars fans will be able to leave their best wishes to the space shuttle astronauts at www.starwars.com, the official Star Wars website. Lucasfilm Ltd. is expecting greetings from around the world which will be collected online and placed onto a CD, which will be presented to the space shuttle astronauts at the official public debriefing at NASA's Space Center Houston after their return.

The Jedi lightsaber, which appeared in Return of the Jedi, will also make its way back to NASA's Space Center Houston once Discovery returns to Earth. "The Jedi lightsaber will have traveled more than six million miles in space after this mission," says Roger Bornstein, Marketing Director for Space Center Houston. "And we'll have the honor of displaying this flown movie artifact once it returns." The Jedi lightsaber will be part of a new exhibit at Space Center Houston that will showcase a small collection of famous Star Wars movie props and a full-size X-wing starfighter through Jan. 1.

Lucasfilm officially handed the Jedi lightsaber to NASA's Space Center Houston on August 28 during a special ceremony at the Oakland International Airport complete with Star Wars characters including Chewbacca, Boba Fett and Jedi Knights. The movie artifact was flown to Houston and received a warm welcome from stormtroopers, R2-D2 and C-3PO who were surrounded by a large group of Star Wars fans. The Jedi lightsaber was taken by police escort to Space Center Houston where it was on display for several days before making its way to Florida and secured aboard space shuttle Discovery.

The Star Wars lightsaber packaged for spaceflight.

spaceman1953
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posted 10-19-2007 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So you'all WILL be using 41-cent STAR WARS stamps on your launch covers for this flight, right?

Lunar rock nut
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posted 10-19-2007 09:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder what powers it, Duracell or Energizer?


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