Archive for 2005

By August 9, 2005 Read More →

Discovery and crew home safely!

Shuttle lands safely.

Despite the problems experienced with the launch, heat shield damage, thermal blanket damage and delays due to bad weather, the American Space Shuttle Discovery has landed safely at Edwards Airforce Base in California.

The re-entry and landing was televised live by most of the world’s media channels. It has been a long time since a shuttle landing has attracted so much attention.

I hope that the problems with the foam lagging on the External Tank can be quickly resolved so that Nasa’s shuttle programme can resume normal service.

I would like to congratulate the crew of Discovery, STS-114 astronauts Steve Robinson, Jim Kelly, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence, Charlie Camarda, Eileen Collins and Soichi Noguchi as well as the vast numbers of people behind the scenes that make manned space flight possible.


(Images: Nasa)

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , ]

By August 9, 2005 Read More →

Nasa hopes for good weather

The crew of the shuttle Discovery are preparing to return to Earth after bad visibility in Florida forced a delay on Monday.

Nasa hopes to bring the shuttle down at 1007 BST (0507 EST; 0907 GMT) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If the weather remains a problem in Florida, the shuttle could land at air bases in California or New Mexico.

UPDATE: Nasa has been forced to delay the return of the shuttle due to bad weather in Florida. The new estimated return time is 11:43 BST.

UPDATE: The landing site has now been moved to Edwards Airforce Base in California at an expected time of 13:12 BST.

UPDATE: Discovery has fired her engines for a de-orbital burn that slows the Shuttle down enough to begin re-entry. There is no going back now!

Watch for updates throughout the morning.


[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , ]

By August 8, 2005 Read More →

Shuttle not coming home today

Due to bad weather and low lying cloud cover at Kenedy Space Center the Space Shuttle Discovery’s return to earth has been delayed by 24 hours.

Other landing opportunities are scheduled for Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center and the back-up strip at Edwards Air Force Base in California.


[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , ]

By August 8, 2005 Read More →

Discovery ready to come home

Despite having to delay the re-entry due to bad weather, Nasa say they are extremely confident that there are will be no problems with Discovery’s return to earth.

The seven crew members aboard Discovery have been preparing for their re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Low-lying cloud which could obscure the landing strip forced flight controllers to scrub the shuttle’s scheduled landing at around 0946 BST (0446 EDT).

Discovery will now attempt to land at 1121 BST (0621 EDT) at Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral.

Nasa has declared the shuttle safe to withstand the burning descent that shattered Columbia in February 2003.

Check out Brandan’s LIVEBLOG

(Source: BBC News)


[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , ]

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)


[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , ]

By August 5, 2005 Read More →

Is broadcasting terrorist video a good idea?

I blogged about the latest al-Qaeda video earlier this week on our blog where Osama Bin Laden’s lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri was ranting about the reasons for the recent London Bombings being entirely Tony Blair’s fault, blaming his foreign policy.

I understand and accept that these sorts of video announcements are news worthy and that we should all be told about them, however, is broadcasting the actual video footage on television a good idea?

My point is that the video could well contain hidden meanings or codes that may give instructions to terrorist cells based here in the UK or the USA.

Has anyone else notice that whenever you see these broadcasts there is always a rifle in the back of the shot? Could this also be something of relevance?

Surely it would be sufficient to show a library image of the person, in this case Ayman al-Zawahri, and read out a summary of what has been said?

I’m not really one to go for the whole conspiracy thing but is it that hard to believe that things like this can and do happen?


[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , ]

Posted in: Editorial
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)


[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , ]

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?


[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , ]

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?


[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , ]

By August 2, 2005 Read More →

A blog every second!

The blog community is continuing to grow at an exceptional rate. According to blog trackers Technorati one new blog site is created every second!

The current number of blogs tracked by Technorati is 14.2m blogs, up from 7.8m in March.

It suggests, on average, the number of blogs is doubling every five months.

Blogs, the homepages of the 21st Century, are free and easy to set up and use. They are popular with people who want to share thoughts online.

They allow for the instant publication of ideas and for interactive conversations, through comments, with friends or strangers.

Technorati is like a search engine that keeps track of what is happening in the blogosphere, the name given to the universe of weblogs.

It relies on people tagging – giving keywords to – their blogs or blog posts so that its search engine can find them.

Thirteen percent of all blogs that Technorati tracks are updated weekly or more, said the report, and 55% of all new bloggers are still posting three months after they started.

I started my blog just three weeks ago and I must admit its becoming something of an addiction. I keep thinking ‘I must blog that’ when ever I see something news worthy. Im blogging an average of two items per day but some days I get a bit carried away and have a blogging frenzy!


(Sources: BBC News and Technorati)

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , ]

Posted in: News