Science & Technology

By July 17, 2006 Read More →

Shuttle due home

Space shuttle Discovery is due to return home today which will end it’s 13 day mission STS-121. The weather is looking good for a landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 0914 EDT. The crew will fire the shuttle’s engines at 0807 to begin the orbiter’s descent.

The landing will bring to an end a mission that the US space agency (Nasa) hopes will help reduce safety concerns over the shuttle programme that have been heightened since the loss of the Columbia ship.

More news as we find it!

Matt

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By July 16, 2006 Read More →

Discovery Cleared For Landing

[color=#6200AA]The Mission Control Center told the STS-121 crew this morning that engineers have cleared Space Shuttle Discovery for landing after completing a review of post-docking inspection data.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]The Landing is Scheduled for Kennedy Space Centre in Florida tomorrow with two possible landing windows. Weather forcasts say there is a possibility of showers over the landing site for Monday.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]If Discovery can not Land in Florida on Monday then there are more landing opportunities on Tuesday and Wednesday.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]Tracy[/color]

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By July 15, 2006 Read More →

STS-121 Crew leave ISS

[color=#6200AA]The 6 crew memebers of STS-121 crew have left the International Space Station to prepare for the undocking of Discovery from ISS scheduled for 6.08am EDT (12.14GMT). [/color]

[color=#6200AA]Both the Discovery STS-121 crew and the Expedition 13 crew need to perform a series of checks before the undocking takes place ready for Discovery’s two day trip back to Earth.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]In preparation for the undocking the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module was yesterday returned to Discovery’s Payload bay ready for the return trip.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]Landing is currently scheduled for Monday 17th July at 9.08 EDT (13.08 GMT) at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Centre. Weather forcasts are also favourable at the moment.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]Tracy[/color]

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By July 13, 2006 Read More →

Astronauts get day off

Following the 3 marathon spacewalks by Mission Specialists Mike Fossum and Piers Sellers and the rest of the crew of Discovery and ISS working hard transferring the cargo and supplies to and from Leonardo multi-purpose logistics, STS-121 and Expedition 13 astronauts have been given the day off.

What do astronauts do in space on their day off? Drink beer and eat pizza while playing Playstation??

Matt

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By July 12, 2006 Read More →

Final Space Walk Completed

[color=#6200AA]Discovery astronauts Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum have completed their third and final space walk of mission STS-121.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]The spacewalkers tested repair techniques on pre-positioned heat shield materials in the payload bay. Among the tools they used were a space-certified caulk gun and a variety of spatulas to manipulate the test materials.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]Landing has been scheduled for Monday 17th July at 9.14 EDT (13.14 GMT).[/color]

[color=#6200AA]Tracy[/color]

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By July 11, 2006 Read More →

Preparing for 3rd Space Walk

The STS-121 and Expedition 13 crew members are pressing ahead with today’s scheduled activities aboard Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station.

One of the main tasks on the schedule is the transfer of items to and from the shuttle, the International Space Station and the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module. Leonardo arrived inside Discovery’s payload bay with more than 7,400 pounds of equipment and supplies for the station. Leonardo will be returned Friday to the payload bay packed with more than 4,300 pounds of science experiment results, unneeded items and trash.

The crews are also preparing for the third and final spacewalk to be conducted during STS-121’s visit to the station. Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum are slated to begin the excursion at 7:13 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The spacewalkers will demonstrate on-orbit shuttle heat shield repair techniques.

Matt

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By July 10, 2006 Read More →

Second Space Walk Completed

[color=#6200AA]Discovery astronauts Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum have completed their second space walk of mission STS-121. They are currently just returning on board through the airlocks.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]There is one more scheduled space walk to take place before Discovery undocks from ISS for its return to Earth next week.[/color]

[color=#6200AA]Tracy[/color]

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By July 10, 2006 Read More →

Discovery’s heat shield ‘OK’

The Discovery space shuttle has been cleared for re-entry to Earth next week after Nasa officials gave its heat shield a clean bill of health.
Analysts at mission control in Houston had spent days looking at images for possible damage caused by Tuesday’s lift-off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

They later said that there were a few areas that they had to examine in more detail including a 5cm piece of ‘fabric’ sticking out between two tiles but have later concluded that this is no problem.

The shuttle is scheduled to return to the Kennedy Space Center on 17 July after one last check that it has not been hit by small meteorites.

Matt

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By July 9, 2006 Read More →

New Discovery launch videos

Nasa have just released a series of videos showing the launch of the Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-121. The videos show the launch from a number of never before seen angles.

There is some excellent footage take from the SRB camera and from the External Tank camera.

Nasa have been inspecting these videos virtually frame by frame to establish whether or not there is any heat shield damage.

Matt

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By July 9, 2006 Read More →

First space walk complete

Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum successfully completed STS-121’s first spacewalk.

Their space walk involved testing the new shuttle robotic arm boom extension to be used as a platform for astronauts should it be necessary to conduct heat shield repairs. Sellers worked on the end of the 50-foot extension before being joined by Fossum to simulate various working conditions.

I watched them working on Nasa TV for a while earlier today. I have to say it looked quite scary. Every time either astronaut moved, no matter how little, the whole arm swayed and rocked, all the while the earth spun by below.

There will be another two space walks during STS-121.

Matt

Image credit: Nasa TV

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