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Space Station - No Food
Or Supplies In Over A Month

By Ted Twietmeyer


Perhaps the beginning of the end for the multi-billion dollar spacecraft started when the Ukrainian turmoil started. Putin is a hard-liner and laughed at other world leaders, much like leaders of the former Soviet Union. NASA foolishly grounded all the shuttles about one year ago. The only way to move astronauts to and from the space station to date is by using the Russian space program. Apollo-like space capsules ferrying astronauts take off and land on land in Russia.

Now the USA is making trouble by starting economic sanctions against Russia. This situation is like the classic situation of a dog that bites the hand that feeds it. Lawyers might call this "sabre rattling." But it makes innocent astronauts on the space station unwilling pawns.

SpaceX is a private company started by Tesla Motors and PayPal executives. It provides robotic spacecraft launched by rocket that ferry food, replacement parts and other needed items to the space station. As of this writing the SpaceX ferry is now a month overdue. This ferry is usually packed with about two TONS of food and supplies. It is not yet known to be certified to carry astronauts to and from the space station.

In addition to the sanctions and the lack of supplies and parts - What ARE the astronauts using for food, with food re-supply a month over-due?

At this time without Russian help, no new astronauts can reach the space station. And probably none can return to Earth either - the Russian capsule is designed for a hard landing on land on Russian soil, not in the ocean. No word yet on why the latest supply ferry is a month overdue, but whatever the reason it must be a serious one. A current ferry module is loaded with TWO TONS of food and supplies.

On top of all these problems now there is a backup computer malfunction. Space station main computer is functioning normally right now, but for how long? NASA in their infinite non-wisdom allowed the back-up computer to be located OUTSIDE the space station, in the vacuum of space. Same location where the gyros are located which provide critical signals to the main computer to keep the space station in obit. These gyros have already been replaced.

As of April 12th, no date has been set for the spacewalk yet. One possible common delay with both the supply ferry and the spacewalk? Our Sun. Looking at current solar activity on April 13th, the Sun has actually settled down after some flare activity. No current flares are talking place as of this writing. Something else may be going on in space the public is not being told about.

Why are critical equipment and components located on the space station which require spacewalks for replacement? Perhaps NASA thinks nothing will ever fail and require replacement. Even though everyone has known for over 50 years that components or electronics in space are relentlessly bombarded by gamma radiation from the Sun, cycled through intense heat from the sun and cold cycles in the shadow of Earth. Perhaps space station components are believed to last forever. Nonsense to put it mildly.

It appears that more obstacles than ever before are present to prevent continued space station operation. If a decision is made to bring astronauts home things get even worse. If the Russian capsule is still docked at the space station it is a one-shot, one-way trip. It is not large enough to bring all the astronauts back to Earth. Some astronauts will have to stay at the space station for a undetermined amount of time. This capsule must land on land - most likely Russian land. It does not have a inflatable flotation collar to land in the ocean as all American capsules have had before the space shuttle.

SpaceX Dragon CRS spacecraft is supposed to be capable of bringing astronauts to and from the space station, but no word on when this spacecraft will be used for this purpose on the company's website as of this writing. A problem with four thrusters failing to work in orbit occurred with a Dragon spacecraft in early March, delaying a re-supply mission by about one day. This problem would not instill a lot a faith in using it for a manned mission.

Year after year, NASA does not appear to learn anything from decades of experience and the effects of the hostile environment of space on electronics. If they have learned anything from mistakes, they refuse to apply design improvements and place critical equipment where it can be accessed from inside the space station.

I wonder if Werner VonBraun would approve of the space station design if he was alive today.

Ted Twietmeyer


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