Space shuttle dodges debris on way home to Earth

Sep 10, 2009 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
This image provided by NASA shows Space Shuttle Discovery as seen from the International Space Station as the two spacecraft begin their relative separation Tuesday Sept. 8, 2009. Discovery's astronauts aimed for a Thursday evening landing to wrap up their successful space station delivery mission, but late summer storms threatened to keep them up an extra day or two. (AP Photo/NASA)

(AP) -- NASA has moved the shuttle Discovery out of the way of a mystery piece of orbiting junk and is hoping for a scheduled landing on Earth.

The fired shuttle thrusters around noon Thursday to avoid what Mission Control is calling a "mystery object."

Officials say the debris apparently came off the linked shuttle and during a spacewalk Saturday. Experts do not know what the piece is.

The shuttle is scheduled to land Thursday evening in Florida but thunderstorms could keep it in orbit an extra day or two.

If Discovery skips Florida on Thursday, NASA will consider the backup touchdown site in California as early as Friday.

Discovery delivered supplies and spent more than a week at the space station.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Observing the onset of a magnetic substorm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Space shuttle and crew aim for Thursday landing

Sep 09, 2009

(AP) -- Shuttle Discovery's astronauts aimed for a Thursday evening landing to wrap up their successful space station delivery mission, but late summer storms threatened to keep them up an extra day or two.

Discovery Set To Land Wednesday

Nov 06, 2007

The space shuttle Discovery crew is scheduled to complete a 15-day mission to the International Space Station with a landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Space Shuttle Discovery Set to Land Saturday

Mar 25, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The space shuttle Discovery's crew is expected to complete its mission to the International Space Station with a landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:43 p.m. EDT on Saturday, March 28. The ...

Recommended for you

Observing the onset of a magnetic substorm

7 hours ago

Magnetic substorms, the disruptions in geomagnetic activity that cause brightening of aurora, may sometimes be driven by a different process than generally thought, a new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Ph ...

We are all made of stars

10 hours ago

Astronomers spend most of their time contemplating the universe, quite comfortable in the knowledge that we are just a speck among billions of planets, stars and galaxies. But last week, the Australian astronomical ...

ESA video: The ATV-5 Georges Lemaitre loading process

10 hours ago

This time-lapse video shows the ATV-5 Georges Lemaitre loading process and its integration on the Ariane 5 launcher before its transfer and launch to the International Space Station from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French ...

Titan's subsurface reservoirs modify methane rainfall

12 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The international Cassini mission has revealed hundreds of lakes and seas spread across the icy surface of Saturn's moon Titan, mostly in its polar regions. These lakes are filled not with water ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RayCherry
5 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2009
What happens if they bring the shuttle down on water?

If landing on the strip is too risky due to the storms, can the shuttle float on water near the coast? Has this scenary ever be simulated?
earls
4 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2009
That's a really good question, I can't seem to find anything, but I would have to think they've at least pondered the idea.

How is this for a "water landing?" :p

http://www.youtub...VU68NJiU

Large list of Emergency Landing Sites:

http://www.global...-els.htm
vivcollins
4.5 / 5 (2) Sep 10, 2009
She's a big heavy bird that lands at very high speed with a fragile skin, not some thing you want to try on water I would imagine
Adriab
not rated yet Sep 10, 2009
What happens if they bring the shuttle down on water?

I think I read that the shuttle was engineered to be able to withstand it, but it would do very unhappy things to the hull. Not something you want to do, especially at the speeds that most landings occur with the shuttle. Also, it'd sink just like most airplanes would, just faster.