August 04, 2004
Space Lifeboats is carrying this article discussing NASA's intention to have a "backup" shuttle ready for the first two shuttle missions once they start flying again. If something goes wrong, the goal is for a "rescue" to be mounted before supplies run out on the one in orbit.

As if NASA didn't have enough stuff to spend money on already. Lord knows how much extra it'll cost to have two white elephants in motion at the same time. For awhile there in the 1980s it wasn't uncommon to have shuttles on both launch pads at the same time, launching them (when nothing went wrong) within a month of each other. Looks like those times are here again.

On a related note, during the Apollo 13 crisis, my dad says that NASA started a giant push to get Apollo 14 rolled out to stage a rescue. They called it off when it was realized that even pulling out all the stops would not have a spacecraft ready before supplies ran out on 13. But it was a wild experience.

Personally, all I can say is go Rutan, go!

Posted by scott at August 04, 2004 11:27 AM

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If NASA had not cancelled the X-38 programme, they'd have a viable lifeboat for seven crewmembers for the ISS by now. Quite possibly the stupidest thing O'Keefe has done during his tenure, because he did it just as he was whining about the lack of manhours on ISS devoted to science instead of maintenance.

Why the lack of manhours? Because they can only fit 3 people on a Soyuz lifeboat instead of 7 on an X-38.

Columbia didn't have docking capability to dock with the ISS and make repairs or bolt to a Soyuz or X-38, but the remaining shuttles do.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on August 4, 2004 12:04 PM
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