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  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  Shuttle orbiter lifetime: 100 flights or 10 years

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Author Topic:   Shuttle orbiter lifetime: 100 flights or 10 years
Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2123
From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-06-2012 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Eileen Collins has been quoted as saying that the shuttle was good for either 100 missions or 10 years.

I've heard the 100 missions lifetime before (and am still curious as to how they derived it — 100 missions of average seven day flight? 100 liftoffs and landings?) but this is the first I've heard of the shuttle lifetime being 10 years.

Obviously the person to ask is Collins, but anybody have any insight as to how either lifetime was arrived at?

rmacd
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Registered: May 2012

posted 05-06-2012 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rmacd     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've heard the 100 flights but never heard of the 10 years. In the 70's NASA hoped to have about 12 shuttle flights a year, that said depending on the orbiter(s) they use the 100 misisons could be achevied in or around 10 years. Although this 12 missions a year never happened due to processing times when the orbiters were on the ground

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-26-2013 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark Kelly gave a talk that included this bit about the shuttle lifetime:

Each shuttle, he said, is designed to fly 100 flights. Although they were not making this many flights, they were not designed to fly for 30 years, he said.

Fezman92
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From: New Jersey, USA
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posted 05-28-2013 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Weren't they originally expecting to have launches every other week or something along those lines?

Cozmosis22
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From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 05-28-2013 09:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fezman92:
Weren't they originally expecting to have launches every other week or something along those lines?

Indeed, they were quite optimistic in that respect; hoping to turn space travel into a routine adventure as predictable as airline travel.

Still, the "can do" attitude and strong determination to do more have been hallmarks of the space program all along. The dreamers and doers at NASA have always wanted more than they could get; i.e., the original plans for Launch Complex 39 included three launchpads, A, B, and C.

Regarding the current situation of human spaceflight in America: "So, it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little bit longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this state of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward - and so will space." ~JFK

garymilgrom
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From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 05-28-2013 12:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Boeing ad from 2001 indicates they thought the fleet would be good for almost 20 years beyond that time - nearly 40 years total. That seems very optimistic to me.

Boeing 2

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-28-2013 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Before Columbia was lost in 2003, there was a concerted effort by NASA to institute a series of upgrades to extend the lifespan of the fleet to 2020.
The Space Shuttle Program 2020 Assessment was a NASA effort commissioned by then Office of Space Flight, Associate Administrator, Fred Gregory, in March 2002, to identify and prioritize the future investments required to safely and effectively fly Shuttle through 2020. At the time the 2020 Assessment was commissioned, the Shuttle service life was planned through 2012. This assessment was viewed as a prudent step to better understand what might be required to extend the planned service life of the Space Shuttle.
In fact, a press conference had been scheduled the second week of February 2003 when NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe was expected to announce the first steps toward extending the shuttle fleet to 2020.

psloss
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posted 05-28-2013 02:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for psloss   Click Here to Email psloss     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The 10 years was original design lifetime -- this is when they were thinking each orbiter would fly twice a month. (Even as late as the 51-L accident, the program goal was 24 flights annually.)

I haven't looked hard or dug up Jenkins or other references like that, but it's noted in a few things that come up quickly in an online search. For example, a document on NTRS titled, An Overview of the Space Shuttle Orbiter's Aging Aircraft Program.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-28-2013 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by psloss:
The 10 years was original design lifetime -- this is when they were thinking each orbiter would fly twice a month. (Even as late as the 51-L accident, the program goal was 24 flights annually.)

As I've noted elsewhere, a 1984/85 Rockwell document listed flights up to 91T and 12V - or 20 flights per year out of KSC, and 2 out of VAFB.

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