does anybody know if NASA has built or going to build another shuttle to replace Columbia?
A better question is: Will any shuttle EVER fly again?
yes, return to flight is scheduled for early May 2005.
I think that the fact that NASA has scheduled a shuttle flight after the incident is more important than replacing Columbia. I'd imagine that NASA will build many more shuttles in the future. After all, we have lost two shuttles already (Challenger and Columbia). I don't see the end of shuttle flights yet...
This question is more appropriate under aerospace engineering.
Don't be surprised if there a more delays. I hope not, but . . . .
You don't think NASA is ever going to build another shuttle? I disagree...
Not like the current design.
From what I understand they are shooting for a more advanced shuttle that doesn't have all the launch and re-entry problems the current shuttle has.
I highly doubt any new shuttle being build. Just for the simple reason that shuttles aren't very cost-effective. As it stands now, the shuttle will retire after the 'core complete' of the ISS. If there wasn't for the ISS, it maybe would have already been retired.
NASA has to get that CEV program going though. There must be a replacement, preferably something that can also go to the moon if required (as the plan is now, they want people om the moon at 2015 or something. we'll see...)
I know from my contacts within NASA that they will not build another one. NASA can't afford it.
In addition, JIMO has been pushed backed in schedule.
The CEV program is problematic. Lunar missions are feasible in the near term, but a Mars mission is looking less likely, although that in theory is the eventual goal, more so than lunar missions.
I suspect there may be some push for privatization, which really means private individuals and corporations getting selective government funding, rather than NASA doing it.
Making a shuttle in the first place was more a PR thing than a technical wise decision. It is very expensive and it is not a very save. Astronauts have no means of escape.
The russian sojuz is a much simpler and saver concept. When something goes wrong during lift off, the top of the rocket with the cosmonauts can be ejected. It just doesn't look very fancy.
So I think it would be wise to stop with the space shuttle and build together with the russians a rocket based on the concept of the sojuz. It should be bigger for 6 or 7 men.
It's also worth pointing out that unless we're pushing for something like a manned mission to Mars, the case for manned space flight is pretty weak.
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