STS-129 Atlantis To Resupply Space Station, Launches Today
Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch today at 2:28 EST from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There will be three space walks on this mission that is essentially a resupply mission for the Space Station. The goal of this mission and some others to follow is to get the Space Station filled with supplies, new equipment, and lots of backup equipment, so that it can stay viable during the next several years after the Space Shuttles retire next year. There will be a lag of a few years before we develop our new space launch vehicle.
During this time the United States will be reliant upon the Russian space program to take our astronauts and equipment to the Space Station. How embarrassing is that?! Pres. Bush should have gotten on the ball with that program long ago, and now, Obama is too occupied with taking over the economy to worry much about NASA. Strange how under a Dem Pres. the Military and NASA get budget cuts and transfer payments to government jobs get elevated.
Atlantis is taking 15 tons of equipment and supplies. That is a heavy load!
The current plan for the Space Station ends in 2015, but some are wanting it extended to 2020. Why we aren’t talking about a Permanent Space Station I don’t know. Also, the Obama administration has not finally decided what the goals for NASA should be. The Moon or Mars or an Asteroid are the current choices being examined. Oh for the days of JFK who boldly set a course of the nation that was anti-communist and pro defense and determined to make it to the moon “before this decade is out”.
The Space Shuttles are considerably larger than the Russian, European or Japanese ships; hence the hurry to get all the large equipment to the Space Station before the shuttles are de-commissioned.
If I was in charge of US Space policy I would set a goal of 1) establishing a permanent base on the Moon, 2) constructing a permanent space station that could expand into an orbiting city and dock yard/construction space port, 3) a manned mission to Mars, 4) an effort to go to the asteroid belt. 5) I would deliberately militarize space with some anti missile defenses and anti-satellite warfare weapons and establish a small military unit of Space Marines. If anyone thinks the Chinese and Russians have not already militarized space, you are hiding under a rock. The first time the US sent a recon satellite into orbit, or a communications satellite that the military could use, or a GPS satellite, we already militarized space. The Chicoms and muslims know how dependent we are on space and are developing counter measures.
It is humiliating for America to be without a space launch vehicle to get to the Space Station for the next 10 yrs or so.