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    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Shuttle Delay Bigger Than Just the US

    Stardate 4262.8

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The international partnership dependent on the U.S. shuttle fleet to complete the International Space Station is getting nervous as NASA pledges to take as much time as it needs to fix Discovery.

    Japan, one of 16 nations involved, has spent more than $3 billion on space station vehicles and modules including a laboratory named Kibo — Japanese for "hope."

    Kibo now sits — along with Europe's Columbus module, a connecting node, station trusses, solar arrays, and a sparkling seven-sided cupola window — in a hangar at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, not too far from where NASA is troubleshooting Discovery.

    After all of the excitement and hooplah about the launch and the ensuing cancellation, one never stops to think that perhaps the US Space Program and NASA are only part of the picture. The shuttle is really the courier or "hot shot" for getting fresh supplies, equipment and modules to the International Space Station. As we can see, there are various Labs and other modules still waiting to get up there.

    According to this article, the shuttles are to be retired and replaced by 2010. That would be an interesting idea, but what are they going to be replaced with? Is the budget there at present, with all of the country's efforts stuck on the "War on Terror" and all that? I am almsot surprised another country hasn't taken the initiative here, and created a new model to either market to the US or fly themselves... How hard can it be? We had men on the moon 35 years ago for the love of Bob...

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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