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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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: China to send orbiter to moon and back

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

China to send orbiter to moon and back

28 minutes ago

China will launch its latest lunar orbiter in the coming days, state media said Wednesday, in its first attempt to send a spacecraft around the moon and back to Earth.

NASA Webb's heart survives deep freeze test

10 hours ago

After 116 days of being subjected to extremely frigid temperatures like that in space, the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) and its sensitive instruments, ...

Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions

15 hours ago

Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes a new paper ...

MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

17 hours ago

NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars today and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

How to safely enjoy the October 23 partial solar eclipse

17 hours ago

2014 – a year rich in eclipses. The Moon dutifully slid into Earth's shadow in April and October gifting us with two total lunars. Now it's the Sun's turn. This Thursday October 23 skywatchers across much ...

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.