NASA Returns to its Original Mission - Doing Things Never Done Before
It's something NASA has never done before - repairing the shuttle in space. Dangling an astronaut beneath the Shuttle to fix protruding cap filler that could blowtorch Shuttle tiles on re-entry is going where no one has gone before.
This is as it should be. When the first Model T car broke down a hundred years ago, its occupants learned Roadside Repair 101.
A century later, NASA's team for the first time is learning Space-side Repair 101 with its space truck, the Shuttle.
NASA's original mission was to do things it had never done before --developing an entirely new space technology, which created a new industry. Fixing an aging space shuttle in orbit is the logical next step in that process.
Yes, the repair has risks of doing further damage to the fragile tiles lining its vulnerable underbelly. But not fixing it carries greater risks. NASA crews need to become comfortable dangling Astronauts under Shuttles in orbit on every future mission until it gets replaced.
Even the next generation orbit vehicles will eventually require it. Let's face it, the next level is Space Repair 202 and on to Advanced Lunar Repair 303, etc. as we reach for the Moon and Mars.
As we evolve ever more deeply into a space-age society, repairing a space vehicle in space will become as normal as wrestling with a flat tire or a dead battery on a Houston freeway.
I wish NASA’s team Godspeed in fixing its first space flat…