Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Up, up and away!!

Discovery sheds the cobwebs...and a few other things...in return to space.

Shuttle Discovery had no sooner "cleared the tower" than speculation began about some obvious falling debris.

Both at the beginning of the launch and later at altitude, debris could be seen dropping away from the orbiter, its main fuel tank or both.

On the heels of the Columbia tragedy, this launch was recorded by an unprecedented number of cameras and sensors, from an unbelievable number of angles, including that of two separate "chase planes".

NASA will inspect all the film frame by frame, and assess any possible damage. Luckily, the shuttle remote manipulating arm has been lengthened by 50 feet, and provision is made for cameras to be mounted thereon, so that heat shield, wing and fuselage can be visually inspected without the need for a spacewalk.

The launch went off without a hitch, but the low-fuel sensor bug was never diagnosed. Engineers don't like mysteries. Let's hope the astronauts find no problems, and a safe route home.

(Photo via NASA)

Comments:
Kyle:

Indeed - as a HUGE proponent of manned space travel (the "Three M's," as I call them - the Moon, Mars and More), here's hoping for a successful mission.

Paul
 
and now the shuttle program is grounded again. Oh well, I guess the hubble really will never be repaired.
 
Lesley:

Hey - the Canadarm is still working as far as I know, so you can't blame the Canadians!

As for NASA, I'm really beginning to believe the future of space travel will depend on either the military or the private sector.

Paul
 
Paul and Lesley -

The Canadarm was too wimpy, so those "real men" at NASA added a 50-foot "armile extension", to allow it to probe the delicate underside of the orbiter for openings.

In other words, the shuttle can now find its own ass...

Shame about the grounding, but it's just more evidence that the shuttle is a goner.

We need to get to work doubletime on the tether-based carbon nanotube elevator to space.

Using fire to get into space is so last millenium... :)
 
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