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: Astrophyicists draw most comprehensive map of the universe

Related Stories

Image: Claude Nicollier repairing Hubble

14 hours ago

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble space telescope. Hubble was designed to be maintained and repaired by astronauts and since its launch in 1990 five Space Shuttle missions made ...

Interview with veteran NASA astronaut Brian Duffy

Apr 07, 2015

Space is always on the mind of a veteran NASA astronaut Brian Duffy. The key figure in an aerospace company Orbital ATK and a Space Shuttle commander is extremely keen on flying to space again. The enthusiasm ...

Image: Launch of first crewed Gemini flight

Mar 24, 2015

In a span of 20 months from March 1965 to November 1966, NASA developed, tested and flew transformative capabilities and cutting-edge technologies in the Gemini program that paved the way for not only Apollo, ...

Recommended for you

Zapping away space junk

4 hours ago

Planet Earth is surrounded. Thousands of tons of dangerous space debris circle in low orbit, threatening serious damage, even death, if any were to strike the International Space Station. A proposal by a ...

User comments : 0

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.