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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Mar 3, 2006 0:46:46 GMT -6
Shuttle hopes for three flights
The US space agency (Nasa) is growing optimistic of resuming space shuttle flights in May and perhaps squeezing in three missions this year.
Hope rests on a new fuel tank due to arrive at the launch site on Wednesday.
The key to the programme's future is how well engineers have fixed the foam-shedding problem that led to the loss of shuttle Columbia in 2003.
Foam loss also reoccurred in July 2005 on Nasa's first, and so far only, shuttle launch since the accident.
"I remain optimistic that if we fly this summer, we'll be able to get three flights off this calendar year. But time will tell," shuttle programme manager Wayne Hale said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Except for a possible servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, Nasa is devoting all remaining shuttle flights to building the International Space Station.
Station trusses and power systems, as well as laboratory modules owned by Europe and Japan, have been stranded on the ground during the shuttle programme's recovery. All equipment was designed to be launched only on the shuttle.
The United States plans to retire the shuttle fleet in 2010.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Apr 24, 2006 10:36:24 GMT -6
The Shuttle has had it's day, but also has kept us in low Earth orbit for too long at the expense of manned lunar/planetary exploration. It's an ill designed craft with major inherent flaws. The new C.E.V vehicle goes back to the basic concept of placing the crew at the top of the candle with proper escape provisions. What's old is new again.
Let's have the remainding flights safe, fix the Hubble, complete the ISS and enjoy what the Shuttle was in American space history.
Chicago Astronomer Joe Founder, Administrator and Chief Astronomer
Telescope/Observatory Docent Facilitator Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
Astronomy Instructor Instituto Del Progresso/IHSCA
Astronomy Program Instructor British International School of Chicago /Lincoln Park Campus
Resident Astronomer Chicago Park District Nature Oasis/Night Out in the Parks/ 606 Trail