Russia hails resumption of US space shuttle flights

July 2, 2005

MOSCOW, July 2 (AFP) - Russia hailed the US decision to resume the space shuttle program grounded since the Columbia disaster in February 2003 by launching the Discovery shuttle on July 13, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported Friday.

"Resumption of regular flights by US ships will allow the International Space Station (ISS) to go back to a permanent three-member team, as well as continue onstruction," the Roscosmos space agency representative said.

"Besides, it will be far easier to supply the ISS with vital cargo," the official said, pointing out that since US shuttle flights were grounded, all cargo deliveries and changes in the ISS team had to be handled by Russia's unmanned Progress cargo ships and Soyuz piloted craft.

The remaining US shuttles have undergone major safety changes since then and the US space agency has been forced to undertake major reforms following the disaster, which cost the lives of Columbia's seven crew members and severely dented US space prestige.

The disaster was blamed on damage sustained by the spacecraft after it was hit by chunks of insulating foam that broke off during liftoff.

(c) 2005 AFP

Explore further: Taking plants off-planet – how do they grow in zero gravity?

Related Stories

Recommended for you

At Saturn, one of these rings is not like the others

September 2, 2015

When the sun set on Saturn's rings in August 2009, scientists on NASA's Cassini mission were watching closely. It was the equinox—one of two times in the Saturnian year when the sun illuminates the planet's enormous ring ...

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base

September 2, 2015

Rice University scientists have theoretically determined that the properties of atom-thick sheets of boron depend on where those atoms land.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.