Okay, so that headline is totally BS, but it was the first thought that entered my mind when I ran across this story at Space.com last week and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head!
With NASA’s go-ahead today, astronauts have geared up for a tricky solar wing repair at a far end of the International Space Station (ISS) tomorrow morning.
Crewmembers scrounged around the orbital laboratory yesterday for supplies, gathering tools and crafting “cufflinks” that will button up two rips in the maimed solar array wing. NASA hopes the efforts will enable the damaged array to fully and safely deploy–a crucial step to complete the orbital laboratory by September 2010, when NASA retires its aging space shuttle fleet.
Seriously, though. They’ve been building this thing for nearly ten years already and all we ever seem to hear about it are various problems and “emergencies” of varying degree. It’s not even due to be completed until 2010 and is then scheduled to be retired a mere 6 years later. With all the various governments funding this thing I’m not surprised, but I do fail to see how this expense can still be justified.