December 4, 2006 |
Space shuttle Discovery's seven astronauts arrived at the Kennedy Space Center for a final stretch of training and preparations before they are launched on a 12-day mission to rewire the International Space Station. The shuttle will drop off astronaut Sunita Williams for a six-month stay at the space lab. German astronaut Thomas Reiter, of the European Space Agency, who has been living at the space station since July, will take Williams' place aboard Discovery for the trip back to Earth.
November 30, 2006 |
NASA officials gave the go-ahead Wednesday for a Dec. 7 launch of the space shuttle Discovery -- the first night launch since NASA resumed shuttle flights after the loss of Columbia in 2003. The last three shuttle missions launched in daylight so newly installed cameras on the ground and aboard the shuttle could get the best possible views of any debris loss during liftoff. Columbia was damaged during launch by a piece of insulating foam that flaked off its giant external fuel tank.
November 10, 2006 |
Space shuttle Discovery was moved to the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center to await a launch that could be as early as Dec. 7 -- an effort to avoid potential year-end computer glitches. The worry is that shuttle computers aren't designed to make the change from the 365th day of the old year to the first day of the new year while in flight. NASA has never had a shuttle in space Dec. 31 or Jan. 1.
September 29, 2006 |
For the first time in four years, the next space shuttle launch attempt will probably be at night, NASA said. The first launch possibility for Discovery will be at 9:38 p.m. Dec. 7. After the Columbia disaster in 2003, the U.S. space agency began requiring that launches be in daylight so the shuttle could be photographed to spot possible damage during liftoff. NASA has launched three shuttle flights since the Columbia disaster, all in daylight and with new inspection equipment.
July 18, 2006 |
The space shuttle Discovery roared out of a gray sky Monday and safely landed at Kennedy Space Center, concluding a 13-day mission that clears the way for resuming construction of the International Space Station. NASA officials said the successful mission showed that the shuttle program was "back on track" after setbacks that began with the loss of the shuttle Columbia in 2003 and continued with last year's problem-plagued shuttle mission.
July 17, 2006 |
The space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to end its 13 days in orbit this morning with the first shuttle landing at the Kennedy Space Center since 2002. Discovery's six astronauts are to touch down at 6:14 a.m. PDT to complete a supply flight to the International Space Station that included a critical repair to the outpost and delivery of a new crew member. The biggest weather concern was a chance of showers near Cape Canaveral.
July 16, 2006 |
The shuttle Discovery left the International Space Station on Saturday en route to a planned homecoming Monday at the Kennedy Space Center. With Navy Cmdr. Mark Kelly piloting, the shuttle and its crew of six undocked from the station as the spacecraft flew 210 miles above the Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand. Kelly slowly eased the shuttle away before firing steering jets to separate the ships.
July 15, 2006 |
The space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station flexed their robotic arms repeatedly Friday, racking up a record for robotics in space and taking yet one more look for damage to the shuttle's heat shield. Down at mission control, engineers debated what to do about a leaking auxiliary power unit, one of three needed to control the hydraulic steering and braking maneuvers for landing the shuttle. Discovery is to touch down Monday morning at Kennedy Space Center.
July 13, 2006 |
Astronauts Michael E. Fossum and Piers J. Sellers completed the third and final spacewalk of the shuttle's 13-day mission Wednesday, testing repair techniques on purposely damaged heat-shield samples. The seven-hour spacewalk focused on refining procedures for the use of an adhesive called NOAX to seal cracks in the reinforced carbon panels that cover the shuttle's wing edges and nose cone.
July 11, 2006 |
Two astronauts from the shuttle Discovery completed a nearly seven-hour-long spacewalk Monday, installing new equipment and completing crucial maintenance work to the International Space Station that clears the way for NASA to resume construction of the station late this summer. Astronauts Piers Sellers and Michael E.