National Space Society header banner
 

« January 2005 | Main | August 2005 »

July 31, 2005

Those Who Peril in the Air

I've now watched several videos of the insulation peeling off of the external tank like water-based paint under a pressure washer, and the pessimist in me wonders if "the dream" will get sunk by three seconds of video. Maybe I've just spent too much time in DC, but I feel that while we are wishing for better things in the future, the political (cl)asses see peeling insulation and grounding orders as expedient reasons to cut funding or drop human spaceflight altogether.

On the bright side of things, this worrisome return to flight offers an opportunity to convince the government that the private sector can do this business better, faster, or cheaper (pick two), and still cause the space economy to come out ahead.

It gives me no pleasure to say this. I "grew up" with the Shuttle since 1977, when my grandparents made me watch the test landings of the Enterprise off the back of a 747. However, it's time to move on. Discovery should (and, God willing, will) have a successful landing. However, the hurry-up-and-launch-or-we'll-lose-funding culture at NASA HQ has lowered their credibility in my eyes. And NASA cannot realistically survive more budget battles if there's a lot of suspense every time a bird goes up. Simply put, as long as human spaceflight is in the hands of the insular and high school-like culture of Washington, DC, I will not get my vacation (or job) at the Luna City Hilton. Free individuals can do better, and Burt Rutan proved it.

When Discovery lands, we need the bureaucrats and their congressional/presidential masters to understand that it's time to get government out of the way and turn trans-lunar space over to the private sector, with the government playing the role of policeman, referee, and R&D resource. America built a heck of an airline industry this way, once upon a time.

Posted by bart_leahy at 04:25 PM

July 30, 2005

Hutchison and DeLay still have faith in space

I was heartened to read today in the Houston Chronicle (article by Samantha Levine) that Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay both still have faith in our space program. Hutchison said that news reports mistakenly have made it sound as if the shuttle is grounded for good. "They are trying to be direct, open, honest," the senator said. "Every little thing they see that might be wrong, they are just going public with it," she added. "You have to admire them for that, but it is also causing stress on the public and the families of the astronauts that are up there." The shuttle will be grounded only while the foam issue is readdressed.

Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) whose district includes Johnson Space Center reported through his spokesman Ben Porritt that "he is clear that nothing will stop NASA from accomplishing future expeditions and fulfilling the vision set forth by the administration."

This reaffirmation by our leading space politicians was much appreciated here in Houston. It is great to know that like NSS members, our politicians are taking the long-term view, and accept that delays are inevitable when dealing with complex systems.

It is hard to be patient when you know that new worlds are waiting for us to explore out there - like the new planet discovered just today. But this community more than any wants NASA to take special care with the lives of our neighbors, friends, and coworkers who fly into space. We appreciate NASA being frank with us and share our politicians faith that NASA will indeed get the shuttle safely flying again, finish the station, and then take us to the moon and beyond.

Marianne Dyson
NSS Board Member
Former NASA Flight Controller

Posted by m_dyson at 12:20 AM | Comments (3)

July 28, 2005

Shuttle Program Suspended Due to Launch Debris

The good news is that the Shuttle Discovery is in good working order, and appears to have weathered the launch without any significant damage. While ground-based personnel are still examining the tremendous volume of photo and video footage, today's inspection of the thermal protection surfaces - using a unique camera/laser system mounted to the robotic arm - returned a preliminary clean bill of health.

The bad news is that the highly-publicized imagery of launch debris from the External Tank has effectively put the brakes on the entire Space Shuttle program. Program manager William Parsons made the announcement today, but gave no indication how long the Shuttle fleet would be grounded, saying "I don't know if that's a month, I don't know if that's three months... We've got a lot of work in front of us."

Here are a few links to updated media coverage of today's announcement:

New York Times: NASA Suspending Shuttle Program Over Foam Debris

CNN: NASA Grounds Shuttle Fleet

Spaceflight Now/CBS News: Foam loss grounds shuttle fleet again

Posted by jeremy at 12:36 AM | Comments (1)

July 26, 2005

Discovery on Orbit

The Space Shuttle Discovery has reached an elliptical orbit on course for the International Space Station, due to arrive Thursday morning at 7:18 a.m. EDT.

NASA just held a mission status briefing, reporting that the Shuttle is in good health. NASA engineers are currently examining the imagery taken by more than 100 video and still cameras, looking for any evidence of debris shed during the flight. They are studying the video footage of a chunk of debris that fell away - apparently from the External Tank - just after separation of the Solid Rocket Boosters. NASA officials are estimating that it will take five days to analyze the imagery and data from the embedded wing sensors before they can say with confidence how Discovery fared during the initial ascent.

For all the latest updates direct from NASA, visit NASA's Return to Flight Web page: http://www.nasa.gov/returntoflight/main/index.html

Space.com also offers a wide array of Return to Flight news and information, and is definitely worth perusing: http://www.space.com/returntoflight/

Posted by jeremy at 04:50 PM

LIFT OFF! Shuttle Discovery en route to Orbit

NASA gave America and the world a great gift this morning with a flawless on-time Space Shuttle launch. The Shuttle Discovery hurtled through an azure blue Florida sky at 10:39 AM EDT, and is now en route to orbit and a scheduled rendezvous with the International Space Station.

NSS congratulates the thousands of dedicated professionals at NASA for enabling a beautiful launch and returning America to space. Return to Flight is no longer just a catchy phrase, but is now an exciting reality that puts the space program back on the path toward new frontiers.

To view the mission LIVE, as well as regular replays of the launch, visit NASA TV online at: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

CNN has outstanding online Return to Flight information, with interesting graphics, mission highlights and free video. Visit CNN.com/shuttle .

Check back here often, as we'll work to post regular STS-114 mission updates and links to other online resources.

*** We want to hear from you as well! If you know of an interesting Web site or article that you'd like to share with other NSS members, send any information and comments to: jeremy@nss.org.

Ad Astra!
Jeremy Pyle
NSS V.P. of Public Affairs

Posted by jeremy at 10:50 AM | Comments (1)

July 25, 2005

NASA Set for Discovery Launch Tuesday Morning

NASA announced this evening that the Space Shuttle Discovery is on track for a 10:39 AM (EDT) Tuesday launch. The announcement included the somewhat surprising decision to press forward with the launch even if the now-infamous "fuel gauge poltergeist" makes yet another cameo appearance. The initial AP (Associated Press) article is linked below, along with other featured media coverage for your perusal.

*****
NASA to Launch Even if Problem Recurs >>>LINK<<<
[7/24/05, Associated Press, Marcia Dunn]
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA said Sunday it will launch the first space shuttle flight in 2 1/2 years, even if the fuel gauge problem that halted the previous countdown two weeks ago resurfaces. Discovery is set to lift off Tuesday at 10:39 a.m., the same time Columbia took off on its doomed mission in 2003. (more)
*****
High Tech in the '70's, Shuttles Feel Their Age >>>LINK<<< (free registration may be required)
[7/25/05, The New York Times, John Schwartz]
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., July 24 - Like an increasingly creaky baby boomer who can still run a marathon, the space shuttle is a delicate organism that can do miraculous things. But as the Discovery prepares to lift off Tuesday morning on the first shuttle mission since the loss of the Columbia two and a half years ago, it is clearly feeling its age. The launching is scheduled for 10:39 a.m. Tuesday, but the question of malfunctioning fuel level sensors is still hanging over the process. (more)
*****
Discovery 'ready to go' for Tuesday launch; Forecasters: 40 percent chance of unfavorable weather>>>LINK<<<
[7/24/05, CNN.com, CNN Staff]
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- NASA said Sunday that the countdown for the first space shuttle launch since the Columbia disaster in 2003 is on track for Tuesday morning. Eleven days after mission controllers scrubbed a launch of the shuttle Discovery, NASA test director Jeff Spaulding said there are "no significant issues" that technicians know about that would stand in the way of the liftoff, set for 10:39 a.m. ET. (more)
*****
Shuttle Countdown Begins Again>>>LINK<<<
[7/23/05, CBSnews.com, Associated Press]
The countdown clocks began ticking again Saturday for NASA's NASA's return to space, as shuttle managers voiced optimism, but not certainty, that they had fixed the fuel gauge problem that thwarted the first launch attempt. "No doubt there is some degree of finger crossing," NASA test director Pete Nickolenko said before the start of the second countdown in two weeks. "But the other side of the coin is that we have really performed a very thorough troubleshooting analysis to a great degree, an excruciating degree of detail with all the shuttle program experts and the contractors that we can get." (more)
*****

Posted by jeremy at 12:20 AM

July 21, 2005

NASA plans launch for Tuesday, July 26

Mark your calendars. The latest launch date for the Space Shuttle Discovery is now Tuesday, July 26, at 10:39 AM, Eastern US time.

The countdown will begin on Saturday. NASA has outlined a series of steps, tests, and backup plans that its got in store. Read about them in this press release.

Apparently the agency will try a full tank test early Tuesday morning. If all goes well, then it will seek to launch that day. If not, NASA has identified several other launch opportunities before the current launch window closes on July 31.

NASA is also looking into extending the launch window by a few days.

[Also see this report from Tariq Malik at space.com]

Posted by george_whitesides at 05:12 AM

July 20, 2005

Fix or replace?

While "fix or replace" refers primarily of the Shuttle's troublesome fuel sensor, the title could easily refer to the Shuttle itself. Like an old automobile, there comes a point of diminishing returns for repairs. We are rapidly approaching this point with the Shuttle, if not past it. My engineering friends are stymied about why NASA doesn't just "pull out the box," replace it, and bench test it later. My guess is that there are no spares--another logistical problem that will soon become critical.

[Shameless Plug:] One division of the company I work for (Radian Inc) is MILPARTS, an organization that reengineers parts when the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) no longer exists. Maybe I should give them a call. Of course, for all I know, NASA has called them already. Gosh knows I've tried to drag my company, kicking and screaming, into the space age. Maybe now would be a good time to start.

Posted by bart_leahy at 06:53 AM

Google Moon released on Apollo anniversary

Internet giant Google has released a new geographic search area titled Google Moon. The site, available at moon.google.com, allows users to search the Apollo moon sites through high resolution imagery.

Word is that the Google founders, Larry Paige and Sergey Brin, are quite interested in space and have recently demonstrated that interest by visiting Florida to watch the (delayed) shuttle launch.

Posted by george_whitesides at 04:44 AM

July 19, 2005

July 26th, or 27th?

While the Washington Post article mentions a possible launch on July 26th, this NY Times article suggests it wouldn't be before the 27th. They seem to be based on the same basic plan: a tanking test on Tuesday the 26th. From the NY Times, the original designer of the sensor has come out of retirement to help figure out the problem. It also refers to the plan to put "the astronauts on the shuttle the next day and [launch]" as highly unusual, though it seems sensible. Also of interest - the launch window originally scheduled to close on July 31st may be extended up to 4 days, to the middle of the following week.

Posted by apsmith at 02:55 PM

Shuttle Could Launch At End of July

From the Washington Post website:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/18/AR2005071801540.html

Shuttle Could Launch At End of the Month

By Guy Gugliotta
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 19, 2005; Page A03

NASA officials troubleshooting a sensor malfunction in the space shuttle Discovery said yesterday that the orbiter could launch on July 26 at the earliest and suggested they may have to reload its external fuel tank with supercooled liquids in order to duplicate the glitch so they can fix it.

Posted by starbase202 at 10:37 AM

July 18, 2005

The Mystery Continues

Still no word as to the cause of the mysterious error on the Space Shuttle's Main External Tank fuel gauge. A comprehensive piece by Bill Harwood here sets out the current considerations.

The fact is that the shuttle currently requires four working fuel sensors for a launch. It is also a fact that the fourth fuel tank sensor is doubly redundant.

While it is possible that NASA might change its rules on the fly to permit launch with only three working sensors, it is unlikely. This launch will be under the microscope like none other, which means that if something went wrong after a decision to waive a flight rule, it would be a bad day for all involved.

Bet on no waiver of this flight rule, then -- which means that the only way for Discovery to get off this pad vertically before the end of July is if NASA engineers can track down the error and correct it over the next few days.

No one said it would be easy. The National Space Society sends its most sincere respect to the dedicated engineers who are currently working this problem around the country.

Posted by george_whitesides at 03:59 PM

July 16, 2005

Conflicting Coverage

It is interesting to note that CNN.com has attached a specific date to the next launch ("Late Next Week") while FoxNews.com has the flight delayed "Indefinitely." Obviously NASA has to get the fuel sensor fixed in order to get the Shuttle flying safely. However, one news story provides a specific date while the other doesn't. One offers hope, the other doesn't. Assuming that CNN represents the "left" and Fox the "right," I must confess ignorance about Fox's angle on this story. Are they being more pessimistic or more realistic? I must confess that I like CNN's space coverage better, just because there's more of it. I just felt that the story titles were telling in their differences; the question is, what are they telling?

Posted by bart_leahy at 09:09 AM

July 15, 2005

NASA: Soonest shuttle launch late next week

Going forward on a "day by day" basis, NASA engineers made it clear today that the earliest shuttle launch date would not come before last next week.

The engineers are still working to debug a troublesome fuel sensor in the cavernous main external tank. The sensor seemed to confuse 'full' and 'empty', a serious error compounded by the unpredictability of the fault. NASA had observed the same problem in fuel sensors during the last launch window in May. After taking the shuttle stack back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, the agency was unable to replicate the fault. For the error to show up only two hours before the actual launch time, with the shuttle astronauts strapped into their seats, seems a classic example of Murphy's Law.

Stay tuned for the latest over the coming days as we navigate our inside sources and the spectrum of the popular press to bring you the latest on the flight of STS-114.

Posted by george_whitesides at 06:15 PM

July 14, 2005

Earliest launch date now Sunday

This just in ... Wayne Hale, deputy shuttle program manager, now says that Sunday is the earliest launch date -- in the most optimistic scenario. CNN.com reports that the faulty fuel gauge continued to show erroneous readings after the main tank was drained. Engineers are still trouble-shooting to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it.

Posted by george_whitesides at 04:15 PM

NASA Administrator: Safe flight 'crucial'

Among the issues raised during Dr. Griffin's pre-flight - and delay - press conference:

1) In the frank press conference, he said that spaceflight was a dangerous business and always would be.

2) Dr. Griffin told reporters: "Is there anything we don't know about that can bite us? Yeah. This is a very tough business - a very tough business."

3) By its retirement in 2010, the shuttle will have been in use for three decades. Dr. Griffin said this was "enough". "It's time to take what we have learned and move on," he added. He has speeded up development of a replacement for the shuttle, to be known as the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

4) "Even with 113 launches under its belt, [the shuttle] is still an experimental test-flight programme," he explained.

5) He said he wanted the US to be the major space-faring nation of the 21st Century and beyond.

For the entire BBC News website article which is the source for this entry go to:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4680183.stm

Posted by starbase202 at 07:56 AM

July 13, 2005

Some Thoughts About the Scrub

This comment from Fox News caught my eye:

>>The plastic cover on one of Discovery's cockpit windows came loose Tuesday while the spaceship was on the launch pad, falling more than 60 feet and striking a bulge in the fuselage...No one knows why the cover — held in place with tape and weighing less than 2 pounds — fell off<<

Suspicion #1: Whoever placed the cover will be fired soon.
Question #1: I'm not a physics major, but how much force a two-pound object would have, falling from the cockpit window to the Shuttle's mid-fuselage? Figure 5kg, 10m/s/s, falling about 15-20m.

Question #2: Is such force equivalent to the foam strike that took down Columbia?

Question #3, unrelated to the previous two: How many tries did it take to launch Columbia after the Challenger disaster?

I appreciate Mr. Griffin supporting the Shuttle--for gosh sakes, we need to have SOMETHING flying--but there's no quicker way to professional (read: political) suicide in DC than backing a losing horse. I don't envy Griffin. From what I've heard, he's a true believer in an organization where "Not-invented-here-ism" is running rampant, and he's got to fight to keep the locals happy by running the current program when he not-so-secretly wants to do something bigger and bolder.

Posted by bart_leahy at 09:02 PM

Launch to slip at least until Saturday

The launch of Discovery will not come before this weekend. Wayne Hale, deputy shuttle manager was quoted by CNN.com just after the decision was made to cancel today's launch as saying that NASA "would not in any conceivable way be ready to launch before Saturday."

That is now the official line, with a press release put out by NASA this evening stating: "NASA will attempt to launch the Space Shuttle Return to Flight mission (STS-114) no earlier than 2:40 p.m. EDT, Saturday, July 16."

Note that Space.com quoted NASA Administrator Michael Griffin as estimating a slightly more conservative timeframe; he apparently said that no launch would occur before Monday, July 18: "And that's only if we can localize the problem."

So it will probably be no sooner than the weekend, and possibly later. The most important thing is that NASA caught a potentially serious malfunction in time for it to make a difference. If readers know about the consequences of a fuel tank sensor error like this, please email this author at george @ nss.org.

Posted by george_whitesides at 06:40 PM

The Question: How long a delay?

The question everyone is talking about now is how long a delay this particular malfunction will cause. It seems similar to a fuel sensor problem that was detected the last time the shuttle was due to launch, in May. Time will tell whether this is an easy fix, necessitating a day or two slip, or a tough one, involving weeks or even months.

Posted by george_whitesides at 02:42 PM

Launch is scrubbed

From NASA:

1:32 p.m. - Launch Director Mike Leinbach has scrubbed the launch for today. One of four low-level fuel cutoff sensors is not functioning properly.

And more:

Today's Return to Flight launch of Space Shuttle Discovery has been postponed due to an issue with a low-level fuel cutoff sensor onboard the vehicle. The sensor protects an orbiter's main engines by triggering them to shut down in the event fuel runs unexpectedly low. Mission managers are currently assessing the problem. More information will be announced as it becomes available.

From Spaceflightnow.com:

Launch director Mike Leinbach radioed Discovery commander Eileen Collins in announcing the scrub: "The vehicle, the ECO sensors, for some reason did not behave today, so we are going to have to scrub this launch attempt. So once we develop our scrub turnaround plan we'll get that back to you. I appreciate all we have been through together, but this one is not going to result in a launch attempt today."

Posted by george_whitesides at 01:37 PM

Public polls support space strongly

A variety of polls have come out this week showing dramatic public support for space.

The latest of these is the AOL quick poll, available here. The latest numbers were that 91% of the public supported the shuttle program. Poll size was 42,000 people.

Gallup also released a poll this week showing similar results. See here for the link. Here's a quote: "Nearly three in four Americans favor a continuation of the manned space shuttle program, and a majority believes NASA is moving at an appropriate pace in restarting it. A majority also says NASA is doing a good job overall. More Americans oppose than favor setting aside money for a future Mars landing."

Posted by george_whitesides at 01:16 PM

Camarda 'texts' his family ... the old fashioned way

Check out this picture:

Camarda_family.jpg

Its mission specialist Charlie Camarda, 'texting' his family one last time from the White Room, just outside the door of the Shuttle. You can make out the door of the shuttle in the background. Note the text 'Discovery' on the stashed entry piece to the left.

Posted by george_whitesides at 01:04 PM

Crew is ingressing now

NASA reports that commander Eileen Collins, mission specialist Charlie Camarda, and pilot James Kelly are inside the orbiter. NASA boards the orbiter from the far side over -- so we have four astronauts to go.

According to local observers, the weather is getting better. Is it better enough? Time will tell.

Posted by george_whitesides at 12:57 PM

Seat Assignments for shuttle

NASA has posted the 'seat assignments' of the shuttle astronauts. Check it out here.

In other news, the weather is not looking good. Apparently thunder and even lightning are around the launch pad now. While the ground crew takes cover, the astronauts have arrived at the tower and are due to ride up the gantry to load in, courtesy of the 'Closeout Crew'. (You know, the nice folks with the white suits you've seen in every space film?) No word yet whether load-in has been delayed by the thunderstorms.

Posted by george_whitesides at 12:31 PM

Virtual Launch Control Center is now active!

NASA has launched -- for the first time, I believe -- a Virtual Launch Control Center for this mission. Check it out here.

The Control Center is basically a running update of the latest mission events and info, much like the Spaceflightnow.com comments.

If that link doesn't work, here's the full link:

http://www.nasa.gov/returntoflight/launch/launch-vlcc.html

It's running fairly up to date, the 12:05 entry is: "As it rains in the Launch Complex 39 area, sunlight is streaming down on Space Shuttle Discovery as if it is under a bright spotlight."

Posted by george_whitesides at 12:13 PM

Crew now suited up; clouds look threatening

Latest word from the Cape is the seven-member crew of the shuttle has suited up and should be headed for the launch pad about now. Despite a late start, the three-hour fueling process of the external tank should be complete. Prognosis for clouds is not looking great, now it's worse-than-even chances that clouds will preclude launch in just under four hours. And last thing -- with over 3000 accredited media drawing power from the Kennedy press area electrical grid - Space.com reports that there are supposedly brownouts going on now!

Posted by george_whitesides at 12:00 PM

Weather status for launch

Latest weather for the Kennedy Space Center and the shuttle launch pads should be available here:

Posted by george_whitesides at 09:39 AM

Discovery is still go for launch!

It's nearly T-minus 6 hours and the shuttle is still go for launch! Apparently the damage from the falling window cover was small and fixed in short order. Fueling of the main tank has begun, and lift off is still timed for 3:51 pm Eastern US time. While the last-minute hiccup was surely unwelcome to NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, he is intimately familiar with the complexity of the space systems. In fact, at the 'go for flight' news conference that immediately preceded the announcement of the window cover damage, Griffin presciently noted: "Can there be something that we don't know about that can bite us? Yeah. This is a very tough business."

The biggest risk now seems to spring from weather -- probability of a scrub due to thunderstorms is now up to 40% -- welcome to Florida in the summer!

Posted by george_whitesides at 09:28 AM

BBC NEWS - Guide to Key Changes in Space Shuttle

This BBC website has an excellent overview of the modifications to both the shuttle and its working practices:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/sci_nat/05/shuttle_guide/html/default.stm

Introduction:

In February 2003 the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. All seven crew were killed.

The accident was caused by insulating foam from the external fuel tank breaking off during launch and damaging the wing. This allowed superheated gas to penetrate the craft during re-entry.

Since the accident, NASA has modified both the shuttle and its working practices, based on 15 key recommendations from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

The aim of all of these changes is to cut the risk of damage from debris, improve detection of damage should it occur, and develop ways of making in-flight repairs.

Posted by starbase202 at 09:13 AM

Return to Flight News Coverage

NSS VP for Public Affairs Jeremy Pyle writes:
With the announcement today of tile damage to Discovery, the focus of TV new segments and newspaper articles will be heavily on flight safety and risk mitigation – even more so than it has been thus far. NASA hopes to continue with the launch tomorrow as scheduled. Go or no-go, it goes without saying that there will be a tremendous amount of media focus on NASA and the space shuttle in the next 24 hours. Here are a few network TV segments you may find interesting, scheduled to appear over the next 18 hours.

ABC News: WORLD NEWS TONIGHT (7/12/05): “The countdown to tomorrow's scheduled shuttle launch will be a moment of tension, if for no other reason than the unfortunate disaster during the Shuttle's last mission. Tonight, Lisa Stark explains the extensive security check points involved before a space shuttle takes flight. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/ShuttleReturn/

ABC News: NIGHTLINE (7/12/05): “And we will close tonight with a really interesting story from the space world. Tomorrow - assuming the weather is ok and all systems are go, NASA will launch another shuttle into space - its first launch since the Columbia disaster. We've got a look at what its like to be an astronaut in that shuttle, from the countdown until the shuttle blasts into orbit. What are the astronauts hearing, seeing, feeling? Inside a blastoff: An Astronaut's Journal.”

CBS News: CBS EVENING NEWS (7/12/05): “It's been more than two years since the Columbia Shuttle disaster that claimed the lives of all 7 astronauts on board. Now NASA is ready to fly again and could do so tomorrow afternoon with the highly anticipated launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Transportation Correspondent Bob Orr joins us with a preview and a closer look at some of the safety precautions that have been put into place since Columbia.”

CBS News: THE EARLY SHOW (7/13/05): SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY: More than two years after the Columbia disaster, NASA is ready to fly again. With much anticipation and after many delays, the space shuttle Discovery is expected to blast off Wednesday afternoon from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Rene Syler will join us live from KSC with our team of experts, including CBS News Space Consultant Bill Harwood, Scott Parazynski, a veteran astronaut, and Kathryn Thornton, a former astronaut and CBS News consultant, to discuss the Discovery launch and to offer insight on whether NASA has met all the safety recommendations.

REMEMBERING COLUMBIA: In an exclusive interview, Sandy Anderson, whose husband Michael was one of the seven astronauts who died in the shuttle Columbia disaster, sits down with our Rene Syler to recall that fateful day in a special look back at the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

COMMANDER EILEEN COLLINS: Space shuttle Discovery's commander is Eileen Collins, who made history in 1997 as the first woman to pilot the space shuttle. And two years later, she became NASA's first female commander. Rene Syler recently met with Eileen to discuss their upcoming mission; she was, of course, excited about Discovery's planned launch, but she also had Columbia on her mind.

NBC News: NBC NIGHTLY NEWS (7/12/05): “REDISCOVERING SPACE: Wednesday's scheduled launch of Space Shuttle Discovery will have millions of eyes trained on the skies over Cape Canaveral, Fla. Bob Faw reports tonight from Titusville, where school children live, literally, in the Kennedy Space Center's backyard. You can find complete coverage of NASA's "Return to Flight" at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7298095/.

Depending on developments at KSC in the next 24 hours, count on FAR more extensive coverage than what I’ve included above.

Posted by apsmith at 04:23 AM

 

Help Us Make 2011 a Successful Year


NSS Logo   
1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC  20005
Tel: (202) 429-1600 -- FAX: (202) 530-0659 -- E-mail: nsshq@nss.org
Direct questions about membership matters to: members@nss.org
NSS Privacy Policy for members, customers, and Web site visitors

Copyright © 1998-2011, National Space Society

   Powered By CyberTeams