Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Discovery Final Launch Poll Results

Discovery, STS-133.
Credit: NASA
Back in September, a little over a month before Space Shuttle Discovery was supposed to originally launch for the last time I published an informal, low-tech poll whose purpose was to get a feel for awareness and interest levels of people who are not space enthusiasts themselves but rather friends or family of ones.


I purposefully asked pretty rudimentary questions:
  1. Which Space Shuttle is getting ready for launch?
  2. When is the next launch?
  3. How many Space Shuttle launches remain after this one?
  4. What mission number is it going to be?

Right Answers

For the sake of this poll, since it was made public before the numerous delays and second last-visit to the Vehicle Assembly Building, I considered the following answers as correct:
  1. Discovery
  2. November 1 2010
  3. 1 or 2 (STS-135 was brewing at the time)
  4. STS-133 or 133

I got answers from 18 people. Below is the aggregation of these.

Question Right Wrong Don't Know
1. Shuttle Name 83 7
2. Launch Date 3510
3. Remaining Launches 8 6 4
4. Mission Number 2 1 15

What can we learn from this poll? Statistically, not much. I knew that going in. As a crude gauge, however, it is interesting to observe that most people, even friends and family of space enthusiasts, aren't engaged with the here and now of manned spaceflight.

There are currently only two remaining planned human orbital launches from US soil. After a gap of several years to possibly a decade, more manned launches from Kennedy Space Center will likely happen, to orbit and eventually beyond. However, those future launches will likely be using a rocket with a capsule on top. Great as these may be, shuttle launches are amazing to watch, hear and feel. If you have the opportunity, go see Endeavor or Atlantis this year. I guarantee it is an experience you won't ever forget.

Thanks everyone who participated.

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