Thursday, June 16, 2011

It was just floating around, who's to say who owns it?

I enjoy James Oberg's take on space programs (not just NASA). With the last flight almost here, the most recent IEEE Spectrum has Oberg's "12 Space Shuttle Missions That Weren't". I like 1980's proposed "Satellite Snatch" (I've emphasized my favorite line):
A key scenario among the planned missions that drove the shuttle's design was the Pentagon's need for a superfast, single-orbit mission that would deploy or retrieve a military satellite. Strictly speaking, the retrieved satellite need not have been the property of the United States. The shuttle was built to enable this, but the idea was soon abandoned.
Read the entire list here.

The "1986 California (Space) dreaming" reminded me of touring Vandenberg AFB and going out to SLC-6 that was being refurbished to support launch of space shuttles into polar orbit. I can't remember what year we were there, but it must have been pre-1986. By the time I was at NASA KSC for my first summer in 1989, NASA employees and contractors had been cannibalizing the Vanderberg site for equipment for a while already. If I recall correctly, this was mostly equipment to keep the Firing Room operating until the major hardware and software refresh.