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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 29, 2005 2:51:12 GMT -6
NASA Says It Will Never Stop Debris Falling From Shuttle
Washington (AFP) Jul 28, 2005 NASA was warned before the Discovery blasted off this week that it had not fully corrected problems that caused the Columbia disaster and now it has no firm idea when US shuttles will fly again. The loss of a piece of insulation foam from a fuel tank during Tuesday's launch bore a worrying resemblance to Columbia's tragic story and means -- despite the space agency's reassurances -- that Discovery's crew will face a nervous return to Earth on August 7.
While National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) leaders have said Discovery does not appear to have suffered serious damage, they do admit it was the wrong decision let the launch go ahead.
"We decided it was safe to fly as is. Obviously we were wrong," shuttle programme manager Bill Parsons said.