Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Discovery Launched

  1. #1
    Staff Emeritus
    Military Professional
    Mostly Harmless
    bigross86's Avatar
    Join Date
    07 Aug 03
    Location
    Tel Aviv, Israel
    Posts
    14,070

    Discovery Launched

    CNN.com
    Powered by

    Click Here to Print
    SAVE THIS | EMAIL THIS | Close

    July 4 liftoff for Discovery

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- The space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew roared into space Tuesday afternoon -- NASA's first manned launch on Independence Day and its second shuttle flight since the Columbia accident of 2003.

    Plans call for a 12-day mission to deliver supplies to the international space station and drop off European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter, of Germany, who will join the Expedition 13 crew members already there.

    Astronauts Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum will conduct two spacewalks to test a new shuttle robotic arm and to repair a piece of equipment outside the space station.

    They might also do a third spacewalk to test repair techniques on the shuttle's thermal protection system.

    NASA decided to go ahead with the launch after finding a pencil-sized crack in the foam insulation around the shuttle's fuel tank on Monday.

    "It all looks fine, and the structure is in good shape," Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier told reporters Monday evening.

    The astronauts were all smiles as they suited up Tuesday morning.

    Cmdr. Steve Lindsey appeared relaxed, shaking a crew assistant's hand before entering the cockpit where he was strapped into his seat for the ride into space.

    Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak was the last to take her seat, and the hatch was sealed at 12:29 p.m. ET.

    "They were feeling great, they feel ready to go," said astronaut Scott Kelly, whose brother Mark Kelly is the pilot of the shuttle.

    NASA had delayed the launch Saturday and Sunday because of bad weather.

    Tuesday's conditions gave NASA its best opportunity for launch. Crosswinds at the shuttle landing facility were "brisk" but within the limit for a safe return-to-launch-site abort landing, according to NASA mission control and its weather team.

    Earlier Tuesday, in the course of the latest inspections, a circuit breaker in the shuttle's backup heating system was found to be not working, NASA officials said.

    However, the agency decided not to send a team to switch it out, because

    the main system is functioning and officials feel comfortable flying as-is.
    Narrow crack

    The launch was threatened a third time Monday after an inspection found a 4- to 5-inch crack in the external fuel tank's foam insulation.

    The cracked insulation covered a bracket that connects the liquid oxygen feed line to shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank.

    Engineers believe the problem stemmed from a buildup of frozen condensation that crushed a small piece of foam, Deputy Program Manager John Shannon told reporters earlier Monday. The crack was discovered during an inspection Sunday evening, NASA said.

    When engineers went to inspect it, they found a .0057-pound, 3-inch piece of foam had "pinched off."

    Even so, Shannon said, had that piece fallen off during launch, it wouldn't have damaged the orbiter.

    "It turns out there is more foam on this strut than is really needed for its intended purposes," Gerstenmaier said.

    Investigators blamed a 1.6-pound piece of foam insulation falling from the external fuel tank for the damage that caused the loss of Discovery's sister ship Columbia. All seven astronauts aboard the shuttle died when it broke up on re-entry over Texas in February 2003.

    NASA spent nearly 2 1/2 years redesigning the tank, but during Discovery's mission last year a 1-pound piece of foam broke loose from the external tank, just missing the orbiter.

    "I think it would not have gotten as much attention prior to Columbia as it is getting now," Shannon said. "I think it's a very good thing that we have this sensitivity and that we're looking this closely at the vehicle."
    Safety concerns

    NASA's decision to resume shuttle flights this summer is not without controversy.

    In the weeks leading up to the launch, two NASA officials, chief engineer Chris Scolese and chief safety officer Bryan O'Connor, gave a "no go" for the launch.

    Program manager Wayne Hale said NASA engineers have learned a lot about foam dynamics in the past year, but there is no way to stop the foam from flying off the tank.

    NASA Administrator Michael Griffin called the disagreements with the repairs a good sign that the culture at NASA has changed. The agency was faulted by the Columbia investigation board for having a conformity of opinion.

    "I personally want every engineer to express the best opinion that they can give us," Griffin said.

    He and top senior officials took into consideration O'Connor's and Scolese's concerns but concluded that if falling foam damages Discovery, engineers will know about it, and the crew can take refuge on the space station and wait for a rescue mission.

    Griffin said he wants to fly now because the shuttle program is slated to end in 2010, and NASA is committed to flying at least 16 missions to complete the space station. He said he worries that delays now will lead to dangerous schedule pressure later.

    CNN's Miles O'Brien, Kate Tobin, Marsha Walton and Jason Meucci contributed to this report.
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

  2. #2
    Staff Emeritus Confed999's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Sep 03
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    10,026
    Just watched it!
    No man is free until all men are free - John Hossack
    I agree completely with this Administrationís goal of a regime change in Iraq-John Kerry
    even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act-John Kerry
    He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. Itís the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat-John Kerry

  3. #3
    Neo's Avatar
    Join Date
    06 Apr 05
    Location
    Amsterdam
    Posts
    33
    Finally!
    Seen it many many times but I can't get enough of the lift off!
    Its beautiful to watch.

  4. #4
    Staff Emeritus
    Military Professional
    Mostly Harmless
    bigross86's Avatar
    Join Date
    07 Aug 03
    Location
    Tel Aviv, Israel
    Posts
    14,070
    Even the longest journey starts with a single step...
    Or with a flat tire and a broken fan belt...
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

  5. #5
    Neo's Avatar
    Join Date
    06 Apr 05
    Location
    Amsterdam
    Posts
    33
    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86
    Or with a flat tire and a broken fan belt...

  6. #6
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    23,818
    The shuttle should have been retired 10 years ago. It's actually more expensive to use the shuttle than to use conventional rockets to lift payloads to orbit.

    I hope NASA can come up with something more reliable and cheaper than both the shuttle and conventional rockets. Hey, Burt Rutan's Spaceship One is a good concept.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  7. #7
    Staff Emeritus
    Military Professional
    Mostly Harmless
    bigross86's Avatar
    Join Date
    07 Aug 03
    Location
    Tel Aviv, Israel
    Posts
    14,070
    Yeah, but can it get all the way to the ISS?
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. PSLV launched successfully from Sriharikota
    By kams in forum International Economy
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 26 Jan 07,, 04:11
  2. Carrier killers (an article from JED online)
    By lurker in forum Naval Warfare
    Replies: 172
    Last Post: 28 Dec 06,, 05:39
  3. Oil companies see big Gulf of Mexico discovery
    By Julie in forum International Economy
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 13 Sep 06,, 06:29
  4. India's EDUSAT launched successfully
    By Jay in forum Science & Technology
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 20 Sep 04,, 18:54

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •