NASA still plans May shuttle launch

Mar 01, 2006
The shuttle Discovery

NASA officials say they hope to launch the next space shuttle in May but admit a major technical problem might delay lift-off.

Wayne Hale, the space shuttle program manager, says NASA is preparing to launch the shuttle Discovery during a May 10-23 target window.

Hale and other NASA managers say they will not rush the flight to stay on schedule. But if Discovery does fly in May, or during the next available launching period, July 1-19, it remains possible to get three flights off this year, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The launch schedule was disrupted by the loss of the shuttle Columbia in 2003.

Discovery's newly modified external fuel tank was to arrive Wednesday at the Space Center, allowing much less time for pre-launch testing than normal. But NASA says no part of the testing procedure will be cut short.

The testing will include wind tunnel experiments to determine whether the fuel tank can safely fly with sections of insulating foam removed. The Columbia was destroyed when foam tank debris damaged its heat shield. The craft came apart on re-entry toward a planned landing at the Kennedy Space Center. All seven astronauts aboard were killed.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Solar storm arrives at Earth, but not a problem

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China to launch second space lab in 2016, official says

Sep 10, 2014

China will launch its second orbiting space laboratory in two years' time, a top official said Wednesday, the latest step in an ambitious space programme Beijing says will one day land a Chinese man on the ...

Recommended for you

SpaceX's next cargo launch set for Sept 20

Sep 12, 2014

SpaceX's next unmanned cargo trip to restock supplies at the International Space Station is scheduled for September 20, the US space agency said Friday.

Not just cool – it's a gas

Sep 12, 2014

In space, a new way of producing gas is being tested for steering satellites. On Earth, it is now fighting fires without harming the environment – and business insiders say it could be revolutionary.

The entropy of black holes

Sep 12, 2014

Yesterday I talked about black hole thermodynamics, specifically how you can write the laws of thermodynamics as laws about black holes. Central to the idea of thermodynamics is the property of entropy, which c ...

Modified theory of dark matter

Sep 12, 2014

Dark matter is an aspect of the universe we still don't fully understand. We have lots of evidence pointing to its existence (as I outlined in a series of posts a while back), and the best evidence we have point ...

Gaia discovers its first supernova

Sep 12, 2014

(Phys.org) —While scanning the sky to measure the positions and movements of stars in our Galaxy, Gaia has discovered its first stellar explosion in another galaxy far, far away.

User comments : 0