Re: UFOnet: Fwd = Space Station Warranty to Expire
- SunCruiser, ovni and ufos.
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On 28/03/00, at 14:26, Frits Westra wrote:
>From: Frits Westra <fwestra@...>
>Forwarded by: fwestra@...
>Original Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 03:07:55 +0200
>========================== Forwarded message begins ======================
> Space Station Warranty to Expire
> Barren Space Station Neglected Due to Lack of Russian Funds
> By Marcia Dunn
> The Associated Press
> C A P E C A N A V E R AL, Fla., March 27 -- NASA's space station
> warranty runs out this week, and the agency is no closer to finishing
> the project than it was when the first two pieces rocketed into orbit
> in 1998.
> After almost 500 days aloft, the international space station has
> no occupants, no experiments, no firm assembly plans. Instead, it's a
> barren two-roomer with bad batteries, noisy equipment and poor
> Blame the Russians: They were supposed to launch a service module
> that would assume control of the station and provide living quarters
> just five months after the initial components soared, but they have
> been stymied by insufficient funds and malfunctioning rockets.
> As a result, the all-important third component, the Zvezda
> service module, will not fly before July and astronauts and cosmonauts
> will not move in until October -- at the earliest.
> Warranty for Russian-built Equipment
> In the meantime, the warranty for what's in orbit is expiring. And
> that has space shuttle astronauts flying to the rescue next month.
> The 496-day guarantee for Russian-built electronic equipment runs
> out Thursday, according to figures provided last year by then-station
> manager Frank Culbertson, an astronaut who will command a future
> station crew.
> NASA expects the space station to keep running normally until
> astronauts arrive in mid- to late April with new batteries, fans, air
> filters, fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. The astronauts were
> supposed to wait until the service module was in place, but with the
> warranty expiring and batteries failing, NASA moved up the visit.
> "Would you like it to fall out of the sky?" asks NASA
> Administrator Daniel Goldin. "I mean, we're going to go up and keep it
> in good repair and we'll be ready for the service module when it
> Space station chief Michael Hawes expects the upcoming repairs by
> astronauts to extend the certified lifetime of the orbiting Zarya
> control module to the end of this year.
> Neither Hawes nor program manager Tommy Holloway is overly
> No Cause for Concern
> The design lifetime of parts is "mostly paper analysis kind of stuff,"
> Holloway says. "As you know with your automobile, it may break a day
> after you drive it out of the showroom and it may run for 100,000
> Built by Russians with U.S. funds, Zarya was launched from
> Kazakstan on Nov. 20, 1998. That's when the 496-day warranty began.
> NASA sent up a connecting chamber called Unity two weeks later.
> Since then, the space station has circled Earth nearly 8,000
> times. Shuttle crews have been inside twice to drop off supplies and
> make repairs.
> The main trouble has been the batteries. Six are on board to
> provide power and have been faltering one by one.
> In addition, a crane attached to the outside of the station by
> spacewalking astronauts last spring is not locked down properly. The
> next shuttle crew will go out to secure it. The crew also will take
> numerous air samples; the last visitors suffered headaches and nausea,
> supposedly because the air ventilation was disturbed by maintenance
> Russians Lack Money
> Zarya, Russian for Sunrise, was not designed to fly so long by itself,
> says Hawes. It was modeled after Russian lab modules that were
> self-sustaining units until they docked with space station Mir's nerve
> "We've always known that Zarya was a less capable module from a
> lifetime standpoint," Hawes says. "But we have done quite a bit of
> work ... to try to understand where the issues are component by
> component, and that is what's really defined our mission for this
> upcoming flight."
> The problem is that for years, the Russians lacked the money to
> complete Zvezda, Russian for Star. Now that it's done, the module
> fails to meet NASA safety standards for noise, self-sustaining
> equipment and shielding against space junk.
> Then Russia's Proton rockets began failing. That's the type of
> rocket needed to launch the heavy Zvezda.
> "Right now, as I see it, the only thing standing in the way of
> launching the service module is a demonstration flight from the
> Proton," says NASA's boss, Goldin.
> NASA Has Backup Plan
> He'd like to see four or five successful Proton launches before the
> Zvezda service module flies. Just in case, NASA is building its own
> control module, which could be ready to go by December.
> Goldin and others are quick to point out that NASA has had its
> share of space station problems, most notably in computer software.
> Boeing, the prime contractor, projects cost overruns of close to $1
> billion, according to NASA's latest inspector general report.
> The most embarrassing debacle occurred last month. With so many
> stockpiled parts, workers accidentally threw out two oxygen and
> nitrogen tanks at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
> The tanks were worth $750,000.
> Russian delays, meanwhile, have cost NASA as much as $3 billion.
> Ironically, NASA and its foreign partners had invited Russia into the
> international space station program in 1993 in hopes of saving time
> and money.
> Given all this, should NASA have waited to launch the first two
> space station components when it was obvious the service module was in
> deep trouble?
> NASA officials are loath to second-guess that decision. But
> former astronaut Jerry Linenger, who spent nearly five months on Mir
> in 1997, says it was a political maneuver.
> "Kind of you do it, then everyone has to come up with more money
> or you've got things floating up there doing nothing," Linenger says.
> NASA clearly anticipated delays, especially as Russia's political
> and economic problems worsened. But no one guessed the Russians would
> take this long to launch the service module. A 496-day warranty seemed
> "That's a long way off," Culbertson said with a shrug last year.
> He's no longer shrugging.
> Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
>========================== Forwarded message ends ========================
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