NASA Braces For Thousands Of Layoffs
July 24, 2011 by staff
NASA Braces For Thousands Of Layoffs, In light of the waning moon, the shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth to fall this morning, the abandonment of the pre-dawn darkness to close 135th and final voyage of NASA’s shuttle, a long-awaited – milestone that marks the end of – and much-feared an era for the U.S. manned space flight.
Coming home to a future clouded by tight budgets and uncertain political support, the commander Christopher Ferguson guided Atlantis through a head turn to the radical left and lined up on the track 15, quickly descending into the light powerful xenon bulbs.
Approaching the runway 3 miles long, Ferguson took the nose of the ship in a stylish flare, the pilot Douglas Hurley team dropped the landing craft and Atlantis is set for a tire-smoking touchdown at 5:57 am EDT. A few seconds later, like Atlantis barrel down the runway more than 200 mph, a parachute deployed Hurley red and white braking equipment and the nose of the ship settled to the runway.
“Having fired the imagination of a generation, a ship like no other place in history assured, the space shuttle stops at the port for the last time your journey to an end,” the commentator said control Rob Navias mission.
A few moments later, Atlantis sailed high in the line of the runway, which three decades of transport operations to an end.
“Mission accomplished, Houston,” Ferguson radio. “After serving in the world more than 30 years, the space shuttle has earned its place in history. It has come to an end.”
“We no longer copy its wheels, and we will take this opportunity to congratulate him, Atlantis, as well as thousands of fans across the nation a great space, going to really promote this amazing spacecraft, which for three decades has inspired millions people around the world, “said astronaut Barry” Butch “Wilmore of mission control in Houston. “Job well done.”
The Final Four
Ferguson, Hurley, Sandra Magnus and flight engineer Rex Walheim took off 70 pounds of pressure suits and joined dozens of NASA managers, engineers and contractors, many of the dismissals in wait for an inspection the traditional track, smiling and sharing hugs and handshakes while celebrating a safe return home.
“They have come to be known as the Final Four, and they did an absolutely incredible,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We have been exploring since early in the history of our country. What did Fergie and his team this time was kind of close this era of exploration. I want everyone who was involved in this feel very proud … We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people around the country that made this possible. ”
Ferguson spoke briefly of the crew, saying: “There was a lot of attention to this mission because it brings to an end nearly 30 year history of the space shuttle.”
“Although you have to make the trip, we are sure that everyone has worked or expect touched or looked at or envy or admiration of a space shuttle was able to take only a small part of the trip with us,” said. “Let’s put Atlantis in a museum now, along with other orbiters, for the generations that come after us, to admire and appreciate.
Landing ended a trip that covers 5.3 million miles and 200 complete orbits since its launch July 08, the nearby launch pad 39A, mission duration of 12 days 18 hours 27 minutes and 56 seconds. Over 33 missions, Atlantis registers an estimated 125,935,769 miles, the orbits of 4848, and 307 days in space.
A virtually trouble-free mission
During a mission with virtually no problems, Ferguson and his crewmates delivery of five and a half tons of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station and helped with a spacewalk to retrieve a coolant pump failed.
The supplies are critical to the space station program. Two companies, Space Exploration Technologies – SpaceX – and Orbital Sciences, is the construction of an unmanned cargo ship to take over the ship after the fleet was retired with the initial test flights expected later this year or early next.
The Atlantis mission was introduced in the manifesto of transportation to deliver sufficient supplies to keep the station supplies until 2012 as a hedge against problems that could slow development of commercial cargo ships.
Now, with Atlantis and its crew safely home, the emotional process of remembrance and celebration finally began in earnest as engineers and marveled again at the technological grandeur of winged space plane and struggled to cope with reality that will never fly again.
“After the wheels have stopped and the screens go blank and the orbiter is unmpowered last … there will be a surge of excitement when you finally realize all that is, that’s all, the crown jewel of our space program, how to return from low Earth orbit for 30 years … we will realize that it’s over, “Ferguson said before its release. “That will take some time to deal with.”
The landing also highlighted the decision on the Columbia by the Bush administration to complete the space station and retire the shuttle to make way for new rockets and laying the foundation of the moon in the early 2020, a program considered outside the scope of the Obama administration.
Instead of returning to the moon, NASA was told to oversee the development of new commercial spaceships to ferry astronauts to and from the space station. Management believes that will allow NASA to focus on missions to explore possible targets for deep space ranging from the Moon to Mars.
Meanwhile, new commercial spacecraft to be tested and certified for flight – a process expected to take three to five years at best – NASA astronauts will be forced to hitch rides to and from the International Space Station Russian Soyuz rockets aboard.
The U.S. space leadership in question
Dependence, along with tight budgets, lack of a specific timetable and targets for deep space missions, leading many to wonder whether the U.S. can maintain its leadership in the high frontier.
“The challenge of space is not in the construction of space systems, is building the team space,” the legendary Apollo 11 flight director Gene Kranz said in an email before the launch of Atlantis. “With the completion of the transport operations of NASA and contractor work force that took a decade to build and grow are being destroyed.
“Now, with the inept leadership and national space, we find both feet planted firmly on the ground. Our nation has surrendered the high ground that the NASA space team captured July 20, 1969.”
Not surprisingly, Bolden disagrees; saying the administration’s push to develop spacecraft Obama trade represents a more realistic, sustainable course for the nation’s space program in an era of priorities.
“The last shuttle flight marks the end of an era, but today, we pledge to continue human spaceflight and take the necessary steps – and difficult – the measures necessary to ensure U.S. leadership in human spaceflight in the coming years, “Bolden said in a statement.
“Children who dream of being astronauts of today can not fly the space shuttle, but the first day, you can walk on Mars. The future belongs to us. And like those who came before us, we have an obligation to establish an ambitious and inspired a nation to take over the day. ”
The grace and beauty
No matter where you are in the value of the space shuttle and the wisdom to retire the fleet before a replacement ship is available, everyone seems to agree on one point: the pure spectacle of the space shuttle takeoff and landing was lost.
“That’s the most elegant, beautiful car we had to fly in space, never, and will happen long before you see a vehicle … so beautiful as that,” Walheim said before launch. “How can you beat that? A plane on the side of a rocket. It is absolutely stunning.
“So I think we lose a bit of grace, beauty, and also a bit of majesty. You can see that the inclination of the vehicle with no thought of America is an incredible achievement that the U.S. can build something because people inside and outside the Earth into deep space. It is absolutely amazing. ”
During the Odyssey space shuttle program for 30 years, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour carried more than 3.5 million pounds of cargo to orbit, brought another 230,000 pounds of equipment on Earth and deployed 180 satellites and space station components.
It was the only reusable manned spacecraft ever built, the only vehicle equipped with an air chamber and the first to be equipped with a robotic arm, a technological marvel that gave the movement its unique ability to precisely position astronauts to deploy and retrieve satellites and the Hubble Space Telescope and assemble the International Space Station.
Over the past three decades, virtually no experience technical problems, the Canadian-built robotic arm deployed or recovered seven satellites, with the assistance of 115 spacewalks, delivered on 30 components of the space station and dealt 72 loads. In his last performance, the group used on Tuesday to conduct a final inspection of Atlantis’ heat shield.
Earlier this week, Ferguson told flight controllers completed their final shift, to pause for a moment before leaving the building, “turn around and make a memory.”
Picture perfect landing
He made his own memories this morning with a decrease in the orbit of textbooks and landing ghostly picture perfect.
Flying down and backward over the Indian Ocean, Ferguson and Hurley fired rockets sister ship stopping for three minutes and 16 seconds starting at 4:49 a.m. EDT, slowing the ship by about 225 miles per hour leave the orbit.
Half an hour later, the ferry sank in the appreciable atmosphere at an altitude of 75 kilometers on the southern Pacific Ocean, braving the scorching heat of reentry, with a decrease along a path northeast to the center Kennedy.
“Hey Houston, how are you?” Ferguson called. “We’re doing great. I wish we could share with everyone this great glow, is just out amazing.”
The Atlantis flight path took the top of Central America, across the Gulf just west of Cuba in Mexico and Florida, approaching the Kennedy Space Center from the southwest.
Announced by the dual signature sonic booms as the shuttle Atlantis dropped below the speed of sound, Ferguson took manual control at an altitude of 50,000 feet, guiding the ship through a radical turn of 240 degrees to the left line up on runway 15 for landing transport end of the program.
“It has come to an end,” he shouted.
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