Thursday, September 15, 2011

GRAIL NASA Tweetup Part V-Endeavour

It seems somewhere along this series of posts I stopped 2011-09-07 GRAIL NASATweetup 114telling a story, or maybe I never really started. I am in the middle of this story, so it feels a bit awkward to put the end of another story here. The end of the story is the Space Shuttle Missions. A blank status board sits empty waiting for the next mission that will never happen. An orbiter called Endeavor sits waiting to be processed to go to a museum in California. A fan blows air into it to keep it dry and it’s forward reaction control system module removed and covered with a clear plastic film. It’s the end of the line for this and the other remaining shuttles.

NASA 2011-09-07 GRAIL NASATweetup 096must have fears the shuttle might escape for it’s locked behind a chain link fence, keeping inquisitive eyes, hands and feet a safe distance away in case it makes a run for it. To prevent the shuttles from conspiring with each other each as been placed in different locations, Endeavour here in the VAB and the shuttles Discovery and Atlantis in separate Shuttle Processing buildings. Enterprise sits at the National Air and Space Museum waiting for transport to New York City.

Recently thousands of people were laid off due to the lack of a mission for 2011-09-07 GRAIL NASATweetup 097the Space Shuttles one such person was our docent tour guide on the last launch day. She was an electrical engineer and primarily worked on the Endeavour Space Shuttle. She claims to have been inside nearly every part of the Shuttle, including it’s wings. Which in retrospect of the beginning of this part is kind of creepy since I’ve given the shuttle a anthropomorphism treatment.

Have you ever wondered what good pranks Shuttle personnel2011-09-07 GRAIL NASATweetup 094 have done while working on the shuttle? Well I hadn’t until she started telling sad stories of the shuttle missions that never had a proper ending. Evidently the pranks needed to me mild in nature and since there is lots and lots of paperwork involved, that imagine go into three ring binders, there are lots of the circles left from creating all of those holes. Those circles were placed in closed up umbrellas waiting for the intended victim to open up the umbrella for a rain fall of circles. Another prank was placing those circles up in the ceiling cracks to provide indoor rain of paper particles. I guess that’s what people2011-09-07 GRAIL NASATweetup 093 are referring to when they say the VAB creates it’s own weather.

I can’t answer why the Congress didn’t want to keep people employed creating new shuttles or refurbishing the old ones. I guess it’s far more profitable for votes to pay people to stay home longer than 26 weeks than employ them directly. For extending the jobless benefits for 6 months costs $40 billion dollars. The cost for a new shuttle around $2 billion. The cost of a shuttle mission around $500 million. If Congress and the President claim to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) I can’t think of a better way to inspire those involved 2011-09-07 GRAIL NASATweetup 107and keep them employed. As an underemployed STEM member I can say safely say more needs to be done to keep us in the fields, rather than going into other fields.

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