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  STS-135: Extending shuttle by one mission (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   STS-135: Extending shuttle by one mission
issman1
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posted 12-08-2009 08:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ever since STS-129 returned there has been lots of murmuring and heightened speculation that NASA will add one more shuttle flight.

My understanding is that one final (assembled) External Tank remains as the STS-133 Launch On Need mission. Were STS-135 approved, it would fly on Atlantis in 2011 and minus its own LON flight.

Of course, who would be the crew is subjective, but I think astronaut Chris Ferguson will likely be commander.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-08-2009 08:21 AM     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 issman1:
Of course, who would be the crew is subjective, but I think astronaut Chris Ferguson will likely be commander.
Some of the talk within the shuttle program, all unconfirmed as of now, is that if STS-135 should be added to the manifest, then it would be a four person crew comprised of Steve Lindsey and possibly other (current) STS-133 crew members. A new commander (and if need be, crew) would then be assigned to STS-133.

Delta7
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posted 12-08-2009 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Ferguson would be the most likely candidate to command an additional flight, with either Gregory C. Johnson or Doug Hurley as PLT. Numerous possibilities for MS positions, but if the trend of naming ISS expedition veterans continues, then Magnus, Tani, Creamer, and Phillips come to mind.

issman1
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posted 12-08-2009 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That would be a very interesting development. Perhaps an unflown astronaut like Yvonne Cagle may finally get a flight assignment? But this is conjecture since President Obama has yet to chart a new direction for NASA.

328KF
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posted 12-08-2009 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why the need for the extra flight? Logistics (upload) seems to be handled by the permanent MPLM and AMS got its own flight added. I know it's speculative, but what is the objective of sending another shuttle without a LON orbiter available? One more crew transfer? Downloading old gear?

Nobody would turn down an opportunity to fly, even if the shuttle were empty. But a flight to "bring home the trash" might not be worth the risk involved.

Why only four crew members?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-08-2009 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Limiting the crew to four allows for a rescue by way of two additionally launched Soyuz spacecraft.

As for why another flight? Several reasons:

  • The PMM (modified MPLM) left at the station only partially relieves the storage issues on the ISS; taking down the trash may not be glamorous but it can make a world of a difference on-orbit.

  • The station's downmass needs are not limited to trash; science results and broken equipment can be better handled by a shuttle than a Soyuz.

  • Upmass: you can never overstock your supplies; with the room you free by removing trash, you can deliver supplies that will length the lifespan of the station.
Not to mention that you could add another PMM, as both Leonardo and Raphael are being modified and only Leonardo currently has a flight. In fact, the LON for STS-133, from which STS-135 has its origins, may be configured to carry Raphael to both benefit the station while rescuing the crew.
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
One more crew transfer?
The last shuttle rotated crew member was Nicole Stott.

328KF
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posted 12-09-2009 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unless the ISS crew is limited in size prior to 135, this seems problematic. I haven't looked at the manifest to see if this is the case.

All good justification for the mission, but if things go south, it seems like a long time with 10 people on ISS waiting for the Russians to put up two more Soyuz ships.

Assuming the Soyuz does not fly with just one crew member aboard, each of those come up with minimum two crew members so at some point there would be 12 on ISS. Two shuttle crew come back with one Russian leaving 9 aboard. The next Soyuz comes up with two more and takes three back leaving eight crew members on ISS, and only six seats on the remaining Soyuz lifeboats. In this case it would seem they need three additional Soyuz.

I know there are a lot of smart folks there that can figure all of this out... my main concern would be the uncertainty of delivery schedule on the part of the Russians. They might want to have those additional ships pretty far along in production before they commit to this.

However, if all goes well, it would be cool to have yet another module on the station, if they decide to go that route.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-09-2009 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the currently scheduled final mission, STS-133, NASASpaceflight.com cited a NASA report from October concerning the Contingency Shuttle Crew Support (CSCS, or "safe haven") timeline:
"CSCS capability will be higher than recent flights (STS-133 crew [size] helps even more). Projected CSCS with a immediate return of one Soyuz is at least 120 days. On orbit crew size would be nine."
STS-135, as projected, would fly with two less people on the shuttle than STS-133.

Were STS-135 to launch in November 2010 or later (which is reasonable, given the timing of STS-133 in September), then the mission would arrive to the six-member Expedition 26.

Soyuz can launch with a crew of one (as evidence by Roscosmos' deal with Space Adventures to fly a dedicated space tourism mission, with one veteran cosmonaut and two spaceflight participants). With the nominal six-person crew on the station, Roscosmos has at any given time two Soyuz spacecraft in preparation for the next crew rotations, launched three months apart.

With the knowledge that their services may be necessary, the Russians might be able to advance their preparation schedule for the next vehicles in order to support a launch-on-need capability.

issman1
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posted 02-09-2010 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
News reports about STS-130 say only four shuttle missions remain. Is there any word, either offically or not, whether STS-135 will happen?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-09-2010 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier addressed this question during the FY2011 budget rollout on Feb. 2. He said that the focus was on the retirement of the shuttle program and that new funds were not being set aside to fly an additional mission.

Gerstenmaier said Atlantis will be readied with a loaded multi-purpose logistics module (MPLM) in its payload bay to support the STS-133 mission as a launch-on-need contingency vehicle, but that was to protect the International Space Station in the case that it was called into service as a safe haven for the STS-133 crew.

On edit: On the same day (Feb. 2), NASASpaceflight.com published an article, citing an internal memo: "For now, adding the LON as actual flight will end unless a compelling need arises."

contra
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posted 02-14-2010 04:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for contra   Click Here to Email contra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceLaunchNews.com: NASA to add extra Shuttle flight
SpaceLaunchNews.com has learned that NASA will announce an extra space shuttle flight to be added late this fall or early-2011, according to a source at the Johnson Space Center near Houston.

The much anticipated announcement could come in the coming weeks or sooner.

StarDome
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posted 02-14-2010 05:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for StarDome   Click Here to Email StarDome     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wish they would make their minds up!

I guess it makes sense to make use of the last lots of flight hardware, boosters etc.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-14-2010 05:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For what it is worth, a public affairs spokesperson at Johnson Space Center said this morning (Feb. 14) that STS-133 remains the final shuttle flight, referencing NASA Adminstrator Charlie Bolden's own remarks at Kennedy Space Center earlier this month.

Delta7
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posted 02-14-2010 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
STS-133 remains the final shuttle flight
The inference here being that there will be no STS-135, or that it would fly before STS-133 if approved?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-14-2010 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The earlier; by definition, were there to be a STS-135, it could not fly before STS-133 because its very existence is justified by the need for a LON-vehicle for STS-133.

Jay Chladek
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posted 02-15-2010 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It doesn't sound any different from the scuttlebutt I heard in October. I think it is a little too early to say if such a mission will fly as the budget for FY:2010-11 hasn't been approved by Congress yet and I believe any such mission approval/blessing would have to come from NASA HQ in DC.

Part of me wants it to happen though as it would be nice if a shuttle were to fly in 2011 around the 30th anniversary of STS-1.

KSCartist
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posted 05-13-2010 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read in the Space Review an article about using the STS-135 flight to place a Bigelow inflatable module at the ISS. The author argued that this would be an excellent demonstration flight of that type of technology.

My question is since it is an inflatable, could it be carried alongside of an MPLM in the payload bay to get the biggest "bang for your buck" for the last flight?

Fra Mauro
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posted 05-16-2010 11:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If there is an additional flight, there should be at least one rookie on it!

Delta7
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posted 05-17-2010 07:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There isn't likely to be a rookie on STS-135 should it fly. The only unflown/unassigned rookies are the astronaut class of 2009, who aren't being trained for Shuttle flights. Plenty of veteran candidates for each position.

Neil Aldrin
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posted 06-25-2010 05:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Neil Aldrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the last scheduled flight is pushed into February 2011 I would imagine that it becomes less likely that Atlantis will see service again, other than launch-on-need.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-25-2010 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As NASA has noted, a decision to fly an additional mission (with Atlantis) will come in August. If such a mission is added, it would be targeted for June 2011.

Neil Aldrin
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posted 06-28-2010 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Neil Aldrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is your gut feeling? Will Atlantis fly again?

mjanovec
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posted 06-28-2010 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does flying on the back of a 747 count?

OV-105
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posted 06-28-2010 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think if STS-135 flies it will be with Discovery. They will have Atlantis still ready for LON for STS-134. Discovery will give them longer on orbit time with the STSPS. The idea would be to fly 135 in a June/July 2011 and we all know that something could come up where having a shuttle crew fly up a needed part or do an EVA.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-28-2010 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To the best of my knowledge, NASA is not currently budgeting for the funds to turnaround Discovery after STS-133. If so, then only Atlantis, which is funded, will be available to fly the still-as-of-now-hypothetical STS-135.

mjanovec
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posted 06-29-2010 01:22 AM     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:
To the best of my knowledge, NASA is not currently budgeting for the funds to turnaround Discovery after STS-133.

It certainly wouldn't make any sense to prepare Discovery to fly STS-135, when Atlantis will have already been prepared for fly a LON mission for STS-134. The extra expense of preparing a second orbiter for STS-135 (when only one is needed) wouldn't be a wise use of their budget.

Delta7
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posted 06-29-2010 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Plus the fact that Atlantis will be up and ready to go as the STS-134 LON vehicle is part of the rationale for flying STS-135.

PowerCat
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posted 07-03-2010 06:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PowerCat   Click Here to Email PowerCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One would wonder if the Progress resupply ship can't dock to the ISS and those supplies are lost, would this add pressure to add a STS-135 mission next summer?

East-Frisian
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posted 07-03-2010 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think so. The decision is made.

chappy
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posted 07-03-2010 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chappy   Click Here to Email chappy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
There isn't likely to be a rookie on STS-135 should it fly.
If there is an STS-135 mission added to shuttle program ...penny just dropped, there is one rookie left and that is Yvonne Cagle, and she the only one that haven't been assigned yet, the class of 2009 is still way off for this flight if NASA decides to add one more flight...

If STS-135 is added into the flight manifest, my nomination for STS-135 crew are commander Christopher Ferguson, pilot Douglas Hurley and mission specialists Stanley Love, Karen Nyberg, Yvonne Cagle and Anna Fisher. It might happen or not, just a thought.

KSCartist
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posted 07-03-2010 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If 135 flies it will only have flour crew members in the event a rescure via (multiple)Soyuz are required.

If recent history holds, then it will be an all veteran crew and the MS's will probably be recently flown Expedition members since they'll already be familiar with stowing supplies aboard station. They'll probably also have flown as Flight Engineers on Soyuz since any rescue craft would launch with one cosmonaut.

I'd like to see Anna Fisher and Yvonne Cagle fly but I don't think they will (on 135).

Delta7
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posted 07-03-2010 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think Cagle is even on active flight status, but rather a "management" astronaut assigned to the Life Sciences Division at JSC. If she were ever going to fly, it would have happened a long time ago in my opinion. Fisher also lists herself as "management" in her official NASA bio.

If STS-135 does fly, the consensus seems to be that it will have four crew members in order to maximize the uplift capability.

Personally, I think either Chris Ferguson or Lee Archambault would command. Doug Hurley would lead the list for pilot, followed by Butch Wilmore. The leading MS candidates in my opinion are T.J. Creamer, Mike Massimino, Megan McArthur, Steve Swanson, Daniel Tani, Rex Walheim, Sandra Magnus, Stan Love, Karen Nyberg (if she's available) and Tracy Caldwell-Dyson (who will return to earth in September, fresh from a 5 1/2 month tour aboard the ISS).

My bet: Ferguson, Hurley, Massimino and Creamer.

issman1
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posted 07-05-2010 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's even speculation of a mission STS-136, which would use an ET that's only partially-built. It makes sense to use the shuttle for one or two flights beyond STS-134, but is it fiscally viable?

OV-105
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posted 07-05-2010 04:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think they said they could do three to four more flights if they got the green light. They have a LW ET at Marshall that could be used for flight but they would give up some payload weight since it is not a SLW ET. They said after STS 51-L that another accident would end the program. Then STS-107 happened and it did end the program, just not with that flight. It's sad that now the shuttle is doing what is meant for, taking cargo to and from orbit, we are parking it.

Shuttleman
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posted 07-05-2010 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What LWT are you speaking about at Marshall? The only tank in town is the MPTA under the Pathfinder at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Michoud has ET-138, ET-122 and ET-94 (saved for dissection after STS-107/ET-93 flight. Other tank parts are stored for ET-139, ET-140 and maybe ET-141.

OV-105
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posted 07-05-2010 08:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can be wrong (wouldn't be a first) on where it is at. I read it last night between fireworks calls last night, so it was long night.

issman1
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posted 07-30-2010 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the NASA budget still unresolved, this must surely be affecting plans for STS-135?

If I recall, NASA managers were saying they needed a definitive answer by August. The flight itself, if approved, has a NET launchdate of June 2011.

Who might be on the crew? My understanding was that some of the STS-133 crew would be shuffled as a result? Yet their official crew patch and portrait are now available to the public.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-30-2010 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA has said the earliest STS-135 will now fly is August 2011 but in general, the agency has said they need a year from approving the flight for crew training and payload processing.

No crew decisions have been made yet, but there is no issue with the STS-133 crew. They are flying as is, regardless of what happens with STS-135.

PowerCat
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posted 08-01-2010 06:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PowerCat   Click Here to Email PowerCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It will be interesting to see if added pressure is applied to fly 135 with the coolant pump issue on the ISS.

While two replacement units are aboard, I'm sure it would have been better to not be down one unit already before the shuttle program closes. Wonder if a replacement coolant pump can be manifested and manufactured, if necessary, by August 2011?

OV-105
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posted 08-01-2010 10:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could the OOS unit be returned on 133 or 134 fixed and be reflown on 135?


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