Use of Space Shuttle after Retirement

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This question may have come up in the past already, but I have not seen any discussion on it:

Has anyone at NASA ever considered using one of the shuttles after the official retirement and launch it on a one-way mission to be a permanent addition to the ISS? The European Space Lab that went up a few times in the earlier years of the space shuttle program could even be updated with the latest equipment and included in this last launch. Regular missions from the Russian supply ships could include extra fuel for the shuttle APUs for powering the shuttle's systems. This would provide extra room for the residents aboard the ISS, and perhaps even be considered an extra "lifeboat" should a problem on the space station develop. I haven't a clue as to the cost of this "final" launch, but it would likely (or maybe not) be less than the design and launch of an entirely new module and rocket should the need arise.


This is not a good idea. The Shuttle Orbiter uses fuel cells to make electrical power for it's systems. The liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen used to run the fuel cells can not be replinished on orbit. It coul use ISS electrical power from an existing connection in the docking system however that would use too much power from the ISS.

(the APUs just supply hydraulic pressure to move the main engines and aerodynamic controls. None of these items are needed while on orbit)


Please use SEARCH, since this question has been asked too many times. See for example this list:


As SG said it is not a good idea. There are plenty of reasons for it, like adding huge amount of dead unnecessary weight which will mean more prob usage for reboosts. Shuttle will also add more aerodynamic drag to the station which means reboosts are needed more often.

In technical point of view shuttle cannot survieve in space for a long time. When it dies it cannot serve as a life boat. And it cannot be sensibly modified for that. If you need more internal space for station it is cheaper to build a new module (or attach MPLM permanently to the station like STS-133 will do).

If you want to know more, please use SEARCH or crawl though pages you found from the above link. All your questions are most probably already answered.
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