NASA to redesign space vehicles

August 2, 2005

NASA engineers reportedly will abandon the basic space shuttle design in the next generation of U.S. spacecraft to make them safer and more powerful.

The design would separate the jobs of hauling people and cargo into orbit and would put the payloads on top of the rockets, the New York Times reported Tuesday. That would keep space crews as far as possible from engines and falling debris, which caused accidents that destroyed the shuttle Challenger in 1986 and shuttle Columbia in 2003.

The plan, originated more than two years ago, is being detailed as attention is riveted on space shuttle Discovery, whose crew will make the first emergency spacewalk in history Wednesday to repair a potentially hazardous problem.

The plan for new vehicles will be officially announced later this month, the Times said. The project is already being questioned. Alex Roland, a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration historian, says the plan so far revealed has "the aroma of a quick and dirty solution to a big problem."

The three remaining space shuttles are to be retired by 2010 under the Bush administration's plan for space exploration, which includes sending humans to the Moon and eventually to Mars.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Mobile launcher upgraded to launch NASA's mammoth 'Journey to Mars' rocket

Related Stories

Fortifying computer chips for space travel

September 7, 2015

Space is cold, dark, and lonely. Deadly, too, if any one of a million things goes wrong on your spaceship. It's certainly no place for a computer chip to fail, which can happen due to the abundance of radiation bombarding ...

Recommended for you

Horn of Africa drying ever faster as climate warms

October 9, 2015

The Horn of Africa has become increasingly arid in sync with the global and regional warming of the last century and at a rate unprecedented in the last 2,000 years, according to new research led by a University of Arizona ...

Scientists paint quantum electronics with beams of light

October 9, 2015

A team of scientists from the University of Chicago and the Pennsylvania State University have accidentally discovered a new way of using light to draw and erase quantum-mechanical circuits in a unique class of materials ...

A mission to a metal world—The Psyche mission

October 9, 2015

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA's Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.