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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 July 28, 2005 12:36 AM


Two and a half years of launch limbo, and they didn't fix the problem. NASA's "Can't Do" approach to manned spaceflight is beyond irritating - it's disgraceful.

Posted by: Keith Wick at July 28, 2005 10:38 PM



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