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Nasa Space Shuttle.
The Shuttle is the first orbital spacecraft designed for reusability.

Next Shuttle Will Fly in March 2006

Aug 19, 2005 - Even after all their safety improvements, NASA engineers weren't able to completely solve the problem of foam shedding off the space shuttle's external fuel tank. During Discovery's launch a large piece flew off; fortunately it completely missed the orbiter, but the risk remains. In order to give engineers time to come up with a solution, NASA is targeting March 2006 for Discovery to return to the launch pad and continue construction of the International Space Station.

NASA Celebrates Discovery's Return

Aug 10, 2005 - With Discovery's return to flight complete, NASA is counting up the accomplishments for this shuttle mission: 14 days in space, three spacewalks, all four space station gyros returned to service, high resolution images of launch and in-orbit, and the first spacewalk to the underside of the shuttle. Discovery will now be ferried back to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida atop a modified Boeing 747 aircraft.

Discovery Lands Safely at Edwards

Aug 9, 2005 - The space shuttle Discovery returned safely back to Earth this morning, landing at Edwards Air Force Base at 1211 UTC (8:11 am EDT). Poor weather over Florida's Cape Canaveral prevented two landing attempts, so managers decided to switch the landing location to California. This safe landing brought mission STS-114 to a successful conclusion, two and half years after the catastrophic destruction of Columbia. The next shuttle, Atlantis, is scheduled to launch September 22, but it all depends on whether they can resolve the foam shedding problems with Discovery's launch.

Shuttle Landing Delayed to Tuesday

Aug 8, 2005 - The space shuttle Discovery's landing has been pushed back to Tuesday because of low clouds above Florida's Cape Canaveral on Monday. All three primary landing sites will be activated on Tuesday, so the shuttle can potentially land at Cape Canaveral, Edwards Air Force Base in California, or White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico. Weather forecasters are expecting similar weather in Florida for Tuesday, so it's likely Discovery will have to use an alternative site. The first landing attempt will be at 0907 UTC (5:07 am EDT).

Discovery and ISS Will Be Visible in the Southeast US

Aug 5, 2005 - Skywatchers in the Southeastern United States will have an opportunity to watch the International Space Station and the space shuttle Discovery fly overhead on Saturday morning at 5:50 am CDT.. Discovery will have undocked from the station three hours previously, so the two objects will be separated visually by about the width of the Moon. As a special bonus, the two spacecraft will pass close to the planet Mars as well.

Astronauts Remember Columbia Crew

Aug 5, 2005 - NASA astronauts on board Discovery and the International Space Station held a tribute to remember the crew of Columbia, which was destroyed during its re-entry more than two years ago. Each crewmember wore a red shirt with Columbia's STS-107 mission patch, and spoke, paying their respects to the crew of STS-107, as well as Challenger, Apollo 1, Soyuz 1 and 11.

Space Shuttle Cleared for Landing

Aug 5, 2005 - NASA has given the space shuttle Discovery a green light to return to Earth on Monday, August 8th. The agency's Mission Management Team has decided that the shuttle's heat shield and other systems are in good shape, after Wednesday's spacewalk to remove excess gap filler between shuttle tiles. The team also decided that a torn thermal blanket won't be a risk as the shuttle re-enters the atmosphere.

Astronaut Successfully Plucks Out Filler From Shuttle's Belly

Aug 4, 2005 - Astronaut Steve Robinson successfully pulled out the protruding gap fillers from between the shuttle's thermal protection tiles during his 7 hour spacewalk yesterday. The gap fillers came out with a simple tug; Robinson didn't need the makeshift hacksaw he'd brought with him. NASA officials were worried that the Nextel fabric could lead to overheating in the area during Discovery's re-entry. The filler material keeps the shuttle's heat tiles from bumping into each other during launch, but aren't necessary during landing.

Astronauts Prepare for Spacewalk to Remove Gap Filler

Aug 3, 2005 - Astronauts Steve Robinson and Soichi Noguchi made their preparations to head outside the space shuttle Discovery today. This spacewalk had been planned for the mission, but shuttle managers gave the two men the additional task of fixing two protruding gap fillers in between the heat tiles on the underside of the shuttle. Robinson will attempt to pull the excess material out by hand, or use a hacksaw if that doesn't work.

Discovery's Leading Wing Edge is Safe

Aug 3, 2005 - Shuttle managers decided on Wednesday that Discovery's leading wing edge is safe for it to make re-entry. This is the area that was damaged by falling foam during Columbia's launch, and caused the catastrophe during re-entry. High resolution photographs have analyzed every part of Discovery, and the only concerning area were some protruding tile gap fillers, which will be fixed during a spacewalk on Wednesday.

Flying Foam Grounds Shuttle Fleet

Jul 28, 2005 - Although Discovery made it safely into orbit, potentially catastrophic chunks of foam dislodged from its fuel tank on Tuesday's launch. After reviewing launch video and photographs, managers identified a few places where pieces of foam flew off the tank, including one piece as large as 90-cm (35 inches) across. Fortunately it completely missed the shuttle, but if it had hit, the damage would have been severe. NASA has grounded all future shuttle flights until the falling foam problem can be made safer.

Shuttle Mission is Safe So Far

Jul 27, 2005 - NASA has confirmed that the space shuttle Discovery launched safely into orbit yesterday. During their 12-day mission to the International Space Station, Commander Eileen Collins and 6 other astronauts will test a series of techniques and equipment designed to make the shuttles safer. The crew of Discovery will spend seven hours today examining every inch of the shuttle with a camera attached to its robotic arm to look for any damage. The shuttle is expected to dock with the space station on Thursday.

Discovery Blasts Off Successfully

Jul 26, 2005 - After being grounded for more than two years, NASA's shuttle fleet has returned to service with today's dramatic launch of the space shuttle Discovery. It lifted off right on schedule, at 1439 UTC (10:39 am EDT), and quickly sped up through the light clouds above the Kennedy Space Center. More than 100 cameras were watching the launch from every available angle, and NASA will be examining the photographs carefully to see if any debris fell off the tank and struck the shuttle. Discovery will now link up with the International Space Station in a couple of days.

Tuesday will Be Launch Day for Discovery

Jul 25, 2005 - NASA began the countdown for launch of the space shuttle Discovery on July 23. If all goes well, and there are no further delays, Discovery will blast off on Tuesday, July 26 at 1439 UTC (10:39 am EDT). They still have no resolution for the malfunctioning fuel gauge, but managers have said they'll be willing to let the shuttle fly, even if the problem resurfaces, because of redundant systems.

Discovery Set to Launch Tuesday Morning

Jul 21, 2005 - Engineers are still working to troubleshoot a malfunctioning fuel gauge on the space shuttle Discovery's external tank, but NASA has pinned down a launch date anyway. If all goes well, Discovery is expected to lift off on Tuesday, July 26 at 1439 UTC (10:39 am EDT). Even if the fuel sensor fails again, managers will go ahead with the launch, as they don't believe there's a risk to the shuttle - there are 3 additional sensors that perform the same task.

July 26 Targeted for Discovery Launch

Jul 20, 2005 - NASA is targeting July 26, 2005 as the earliest date for the space shuttle Discovery to return to flight. Engineers are still working through a troubleshooting plan to get to the bottom of a problem with a liquid hydrogen low-level sensor circuit that forced managers to abort the launch last week. Discovery's launch window lasts until July 31, and then opens up again in September.

Return to Flight Launch Pushed Back at Least a Week

Jul 18, 2005 - Space Shuttle managers have announced that Discovery won't be lifting off until late next week, at the earliest. Engineers and managers are still trying to troubleshoot exactly what caused a problem with the external tank's fuel gauge. It's possible that one of the new safety improvements, implemented as part of the Return to Flight effort might be causing the glitch. If the shuttle doesn't launch by July 31, it will need to wait again until September before there's another opportunity.

Discovery Won't Launch Before Sunday

Jul 15, 2005 - NASA has announced that the space shuttle Discovery's earliest launch window will be on Sunday, July 17 at 1914 UTC (2:14 pm EDT); although, it could be much later. A problem with a fuel gauge on the shuttle's external tank halted the countdown on Wednesday. Engineers have so far been unable to find the source of the problem. The shuttle's launch window will last until the end of the July, and then opens up in September again.

Malfunctioning Fuel Gauge Delays Shuttle

Jul 14, 2005 - The return to flight launch of the space shuttle Discovery was delayed Wednesday when a faulty fuel gage failed a prelaunch check. The shuttle actually has four of these sensors for redundancy, but they all need to be working for the shuttle to get cleared for launch. The launch window has been pushed back to Saturday, July 16 at 1940 UTC (2:40 pm EDT). When it finally gets off the ground, Discovery will deliver supplies to the International Space Station and test new safety procedures developed for the Return to Flight.

Shuttle Exhaust Can Make Clouds in Antarctica

Jul 8, 2005 - A new study by NASA and the Naval Research Institute has found that exhaust from the space shuttle can create high altitude clouds over Antarctica, just a few days after launch. Exhaust released at an altitude of 110 km (69 miles) can form Antarctic polar clouds in the mesosphere (the second highest layer of the atmosphere). Scientists originally discovered the connection when they noticed iron particles in clouds above Antarctica, and couldn't imagine a natural process that could put them into the high atmosphere.

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