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December 14, 2011

An old article I wrote related to one of the Space Shuttle missions.


            Recently the space shuttle Discovery has returned to space for the first time since 2003.  The long wait was due to the previous shuttle disaster that was caused by the space age orthopedic foam debris hitting the shuttle on lift off.  For safety reasons and the fear of the engineers getting written up again, extra safety precautions where taken this time including supplying more space age toilet paper.

            The launch was delayed a few times for a faulty fuel sensor, and since they couldn’t fix the issue they said ‘Screw it, let’s launch it anyway!’  The only problem that this will cause is the fuel gauge to read empty and cause the gas tank light to come on, which according to the space shuttle manual, they will have 3,500 miles to hit a gas station before running out of gas.  So to alleviate the astronauts worries top NASA engineers placed black electricians tape over the “Low Fuel” indicator light.

            Now that they have made it into space, there mission is to:

Fix all the tiles on the ship, which trying to set the grout in zero g can get a bit frustrating. 

Replace a gyro on the space station; this is the little thing that runs off a magnet that you buy at the Discovery store and give to people for their office.

And install a storage platform on the station; you can never have enough cabinet space.

Also three Space Walks are scheduled. This is done one of three ways: An astronaut is attached to the robotic arm and is extended out around the ship, where his crewmates can shake him vigorously until he pays them the 20 bucks he owes them.  Another way is extending him on a leash, this is used for when an astronaut farts in the cabin, and the crew places him out in space to air out.  The third is when the arm or leash breaks, *DOINK*, and the astronaut floats aimlessly off into space.

            After a successful mission, the shuttle heads back to earth.  When reentering the atmosphere the shuttle generates so much friction from the air that the bottom heats up to about two-thousand degrees Fahrenheit or about the same heat your food is cooked at Denny’s.  That’s the easy part, next you have to land the shuttle.  With no other means of momentum other than gravity, the shuttle plunges to the earth at an incredible rate of speed, the same rate that a microwave burrito reaches your colon.  The pilot must then glide the shuttle to a long runway to land; this is like landing a refrigerator on a quarter.  Once landing the parachutes deploys and the shuttle comes to a complete stop, for those of you in Arizona that means the vehicle tires actually stops rotating and all forward momentum stops for more than a second.

             The triumphant returns and is greeted by approximately twelve cheering fans.  The astronauts give a brief speech and then they head home, where they run out of gas because they didn’t notice the Low Fuel light.