From: J. Forster (
Date: Mon Feb 03 2003 - 00:25:04 PST

People have suggested that the shuttle could have carried some provisions for
examination and repair of tiles. I agree. One could conceive of a small
satellite that could be put out the airlock carrying a simple stabilization
system such as 3 gyros and a small TV camera and transmitter. It needn't be
great. The shuttle itself then could maneuver within the camera's field of view.
It seems that such a device could be built for under 20 lb. weight. However,
such a system would likely be useless without some repair capability.

As to a docking with the space station, the orbits are different and I strongly
doubt there would be sufficient fuel on the shuttle for the necessary orbit
changes. It takes a great deal of energy to change orbits.

With a small fleet of vehicles, now reduced, launching a rescue mission would be
difficult at best because of the lead times involved, even if the problem had
been discovered early in the mission.

Unfortunately, if you operate on a shoestring, you are vulnerable to single
point failures. The loss of the crew and vehicle is a national tragedy, but it
should not keep us from continued progress in space.


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