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Cool Photos [Sep. 23rd, 2008|12:29 pm]
(follow the links for the big pics)

From a boston.com photo profile of India: TIGERS!

"Performers dressed as tigers take part in Pulikali, or tiger dance, during festivities in Trichur city, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, September 15, 2008. The ceremony was organised to mark the end of the annual harvest festival, 'Onam'."

Double your pleasure, double your spaceflight: TWIN SHUTTLES!

menagerie73 posted this one. Something that I didn't really expect would come to pass: two shuttle lined up for launch on the pads. The reason, sadly, is not that we've got a gangbuster space program and are launching things hand over fist. It's an insurance policy. The agency is concerned enough about the reliability of the aging vehicles that they've staged the second one as a standby in case a rescue flight is needed. This was an option that was previously judged to be too high-risk, but is now evidently a lower risk probability than something going amiss in the primary vehicle.

Late addition: SpaceX is getting ready for another attempt: TROPICAL ROCKET!

That's a view of the Falcon vehicle standing on the launch pad on Kwajalein Atoll. They did a static test fire today and decided to replace a component in the fuel feed system. Their current launch window is slated as Sep 28th - Oct 1st. (their news)

[User Picture]From: qatar
2008-09-23 07:49 pm (UTC)
Whoa. I wonder if Keralite men try to attain a beer belly, so their tiger will have a nice snout.

There are actually an enormous number of Keralites in Qatar... maybe I'll ask one (or at least wish him a happy Onam!)
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[User Picture]From: smack_jackal
2008-09-23 08:20 pm (UTC)
My only real concern over NASA's potential recuse plan is that it seems just as likely that something could horribly wrong with the ship sent to rescue the the crew of the other ship.
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[User Picture]From: diadexxus
2008-09-23 09:25 pm (UTC)
YAY TIGERS! Yea I saw that pic last week and its GORGEOUS....

WOW, I don't think I have ever seen a picture of TWO shuttles set for launch.. have they EVER done that? man, we need another shuttle program soon.

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[User Picture]From: captpackrat
2008-09-24 12:16 am (UTC)
Once upon a time, there were plans for having multiple shuttles up at the same time, as well as a second launch site (Vandenberg AFB). Budget cutbacks and crippling fear over losing another crew has pretty much put an end to their doing anything exciting.

The replacement for the STS will be the Orion. It's more of a throwback to the days of Apollo: a conical capsule that will house the crew, a cylindrical service module, a lunar module (Altair) and a very tall multi-stage rocket (Ares) to launch the whole thing. The first Orion flight isn't planned until 2014, while the last shuttle will be retired in 2010.
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[User Picture]From: sabotlours
2008-09-24 02:45 am (UTC)
Wow! Those were both very cool pics!
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[User Picture]From: fjmccloud
2008-09-24 06:53 am (UTC)
Moonraker here we come!

Which shuttles are those? I've had this morbid prediction ever since Challenger that I can guess the order they'll fail. Just not when, why, or how. C, D, A, E. Stick with the E ticket ride, avoid D. Sounds like even NASA is waking up to this eventuality. :-(
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2008-09-24 03:15 pm (UTC)
Atlantis (near) is the primary vehicle and Endeavor (far) is the contingency vehicle.
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[User Picture]From: fjmccloud
2008-09-25 04:09 am (UTC)
Oh good! No worries then. Mission will come back safe and sound.

All things considered, shuttles have always looked cool. Just alot more costly than hoped, and not really maneuverable in descent. To me a return to capsules is a step backward.

Although that, too, is a tragedy at NASA. We cannot build more Saturn V because we lost the know-how (and companies!) to do it. Hence we have to start over from scratch with Ares. What a waste of money.
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[User Picture]From: menagerie73
2008-09-25 08:09 am (UTC)
Ooh. I've been referenced! Thanks.

I really hope that SpaceX gets falcon to work. They have real estate out at Canaveral now. It would be nice to see them up and running regularly.
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