Science & Technology

By August 6, 2005 Read More →

Shuttle bids farewell to ISS

The crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery have packed their bags and left the ISS to begin the long journey back home. After saying goodbye to the station’s two residents, the crew closed the hatches and sealed the shuttle before slowly separating early on Saturday.

Having undocked with the ISS, the shuttle will fly around the space station, taking photographs from every angle.

“We are doing it to take pictures of the space station, snap some pictures from some angles we haven’t seen since the last orbiter was there in 2002,” Paul Hill, lead shuttle flight director, told journalists.

(Souces: BBC, Nasa)

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): shuttle, nasa, Space Shuttle, Space Shuttle Discovery, Discovery, Space, Science]

By August 5, 2005 Read More →

No more Space Shuttle Discovery repairs

Following a series of wind tunnel tests and engineers reviews, Nasa has decided a further spacewalk to repair a torn thermal blanket on the shuttle Discovery is not necessary.
The US space agency told the seven crew members the shuttle would be safe for re-entry, due on Monday, despite the torn blanket below the cockpit window.

A Nasa representative told journalists that “I think in the old days we would not have worried about this so much”. Presumably the fact that all eyes are on Nasa at the moment is forcing them to be rather more cautious that they may normally have been.

On Wednesday, astronauts removed protruding material from the orbiter’s underside which was threatening the heatshield’s integrity.

If Nasa had decided upon a further spacewalk, it would have been the fourth carried out by the Discovery crew.

(Image: Nasa)

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): shuttle, nasa, Space Shuttle, Space Shuttle Discovery, Discovery, Space, Science]

By August 3, 2005 Read More →

More shuttle fears?

There are fresh fears that there could be further problems with the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Apparantly there is some concern about a thermal blanket below the cockpit. Experts believe that this may have been damaged during lift off when the orbiter stuck a bird. It is feared that the thermal blanket could tear off during re-entry.

Flight director, Paul Hill, said a decision would be taken once engineers had finished studying images of the blanket.

What does that mean? If they don’t like the look of the blanket images they leave the orbiter up there and parachute home?! Could they possibly send another unmanned orbiter up to return the crew and return Discovery at a later date?

The shuttle has to be manned for re-entry doesn’t it?

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): shuttle, nasa, Space Shuttle, Space Shuttle Discovery, Discovery, Space, Science]

By August 3, 2005 Read More →

Shuttle repair successful

Shuttle astronaut Stephen Robinson has successfully removed two ceramic strips protruding from the heatshield on the Discovery orbiter’s underside.

The astronaut rode the robotic arm from the ISS in order to reach the underside of the shuttle and was able to remove the strips with his finger.

Nasa was concerned the strips could have caused Discovery to overheat as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere.

So what are these gap fillers for? If they are that easy to remove and they can work lose during launch (as they have done on previous missons) and the shuttle can re-enter safely without them installed why are they fitted in the first place?

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): shuttle, nasa, Space Shuttle, Space Shuttle Discovery, Discovery, Space, Science]

By August 2, 2005 Read More →

Shuttle to be repaired in space!

Astronaut Stephen Robinson will make a space walk underneath the Shuttle Discovery to remove strips that are sticking out between heat shield tiles on Discovery’s belly.

Nasa is concerned the dangling material – called gap fillers – could cause part of the shuttle to overheat as it re-enters the atmosphere.

Nasa confirmed that debris did indeed strike the shuttle during launch but Nasa officials say this is not related to damage from foam debris. Instead, the fabric could have been shaken loose by the vibrations during launch.

The International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm will position Discovery mission specialist Robinson underneath the shuttle so he can pull the gap fillers out.

This will be the first time that a space walk has been made underneath an orbiting shuttle.

See also Mark’s Article

(Source: BBC News)

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): shuttle, nasa, Space Shuttle, Space Shuttle Discovery, Discovery, Space, Science]

By July 28, 2005 Read More →

Space Shuttles Grounded

NASA has said it is grounding the space shuttle fleet as engineers investigate debris which fell from Discovery’s external fuel tank during launch.
A spokesman for the US space agency said big chunks of foam broke off the tank after Tuesday’s lift-off but are not thought to have damaged the craft.

The Columbia shuttle was destroyed in 2003 after a similar incident.

If the shuttle is damaged, its crew could wait in the International Space Station until a rescue craft arrives.

Discovery is taking parts and supplies to the ISS.

It is the first orbiter mission by the US space agency since the loss of the Columbia and its crew.

It is due to return to Earth in 10 days’ time.

See also Mark’s Article

(Source: BBC News)

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): shuttle, nasa, Space Shuttle, Space Shuttle Discovery, Discovery, Space, Science]