Aug 24, 2009
With each nighttime space shuttle launch, residents of the U.S.'s eastern seaboard have a chance, weather permitting, to see the orbiter climbing into the sky. The launch of space shuttle Discovery, scheduled for 1:36 A.M. (Eastern Daylight Time) Tuesday, is no exception and may provide the last such opportunity before the space shuttle program is terminated.
Over at SPACE.com, Joe Rao of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City has viewing tips for various regions of the coast in the seconds and minutes after liftoff. SPACE.com also has a map of the areas from which the shuttle should be visible during ascent, assuming clear skies and an unobstructed vantage point.
Aug 19, 2009
NASA has decided to proceed with a shuttle launch to the International Space Station (ISS) next week, having concluded that insulation foam losses from the external fuel tank, which occurred during the two previous shuttle launches, did not pose an unacceptable risk to the upcoming mission.
Space shuttle Discovery is set to lift off early Tuesday morning from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a 13-day mission to the ISS. Discovery will deliver to the station new science gear and additional life-support equipment, as well as Stephen Colbert's namesake exercise device, the COLBERT treadmill.
There was much concern about the safety of the foam insulation that coats the shuttle's external fuel tank. Orbiters in both a May mission to the Hubble Space Telescope and last month's mission to the ISS showed dings from falling pieces of foam during ascent. A large-scale foam loss significantly damaged the heat shield of space shuttle Columbia in 2003, and the shuttle broke up on reentry, killing all seven crewmembers.
Jul 1, 2009 | 1
Will the third time be a charm for space shuttle Endeavour? NASA successfully tested a troublesome gas-venting system this morning, green-lighting the twice-delayed launch of the shuttle to the International Space Station.
The space agency filled the shuttle's external fuel tank with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and found that the vent system, which carries excess hydrogen gas away from the launch pad, was no longer leaking near the shuttle.
Hydrogen leaks at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate, which connects the vent line to the shuttle's tanks, were detected in advance of planned launches on June 13 and June 17. Endeavour is now scheduled for a July 11 launch.
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