By August 15, 2005

Atlantis flight date scrapped

The space shuttle fleet will remain grounded until November at the earliest, Nasa officials have said.

The September launch scheduled for the Shuttle Atlantis has now been canceled while Nasa tries to come up with a way to prevent pieces of foam insulation breaking free from the shuttle’s external fuel tank.

A large foam chunk fatally damaged the Columbia shuttle in 2003, causing it to burn up on re-entry, and smaller pieces were shed during Discovery’s launch.

Solving the problem is likely to be expensive especialy when you consider that the shuttle fleet is due to retire in 2010. Nasa already spent more than $1bn (£552m) on investigating the problem following the Columbia disaster, which killed all seven astronauts on board.

This brings into question whether or not the Shuttle Programme will be scrapped ahead of the 2010 deadline.

I personally hope that Nasa do continue to fly the Shuttle, it would be a shame to see the programme end on such a low note. I would imagine that this problem has existed for sometime but its only now that technology has existed where launches can be more closely monitored. How about wrapping the ET in Duct Tape?


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More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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