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Discovery Space Shuttle

July 8, 2006 | Karen Kaplan, Times Staff Writer
After analyzing the shuttle's energy consumption, NASA officials on Friday decided to extend Discovery's mission by an extra day and add a third spacewalk to the astronauts' itinerary. Astronauts Piers J. Sellers and Michael E. Fossum will use the extra spacewalk Wednesday to practice making repairs to the carbon material that protects the shuttle's nose cone and the leading edge of the wings from extreme heat, said John Shannon, deputy shuttle program manager.
July 7, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
The crew of the shuttle Discovery successfully docked with the International Space Station on Thursday and prepared for a "focused inspection" today of several potential problem areas that have cropped up. NASA officials kept open the possibility of a spacewalk later in the mission to remove two bulging gap fillers -- spacers placed between the shuttle's heat-resistant tiles. NASA managers continued to portray the mission and the health of the shuttle in glowing terms.
July 6, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
An inspection of the shuttle Discovery on its second day in space showed the craft to be remarkably unblemished from its Independence Day launch -- unless you counted bird droppings. Photographs and radar scans of the 4.5-million-pound craft showed "zero" problems, said John Shannon, deputy director of the space shuttle program. "We don't have very many anomalies at all," he said during a news conference Wednesday at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
July 5, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
Despite lingering concerns about insulating foam falling from the shuttle's external fuel tank, NASA set off the biggest fireworks display of all Tuesday, successfully launching Discovery and its seven astronauts on a mission to the International Space Station. "I can't think of a better place to be on the Fourth of July," shuttle Cmdr. Steven Lindsey said minutes before launch. "We hope to give you an up close and personal look at the rocket's red glare." Discovery blasted off at 11:38 a.m.
July 4, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
NASA officials decided to attempt an Independence Day launch of the space shuttle despite the discovery of a piece of broken foam from the shuttle's 15-story-tall external fuel tank. An inspection of the damaged area "showed the foam is acceptable and ready to go fly," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for space operations, after a lengthy meeting with mission managers.
July 3, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
The launch of the space shuttle Discovery was scrubbed for the second day in a row Sunday as rain and thunderheads crowded the skies over the launch site in central Florida. "We've concluded we're not going to have a chance to launch today," launch director Mike Leinbach told shuttle Cmdr. Steve Lindsey more than two hours before the scheduled launch at 12:26 p.m. PDT. There was never a good chance of launching throughout the day. "We went red this morning and stayed red," said Air Force Lt.
July 2, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
With thunderheads pressing in on the launch site in central Florida, NASA managers canceled Saturday's liftoff of the space shuttle Discovery. The launch has been rescheduled for today at 12:26 p.m. PDT. "This is a dynamic day. I think we're playing it too close here," said Steve Stich, the flight director at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Launch director Mike Leinbach at Kennedy Space Center told shuttle Cmdr. Steve Lindsey, "Well, Steve, sorry to break your string."
July 1, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
Amid lingering concerns over insulating foam flaking off the space shuttle's external fuel tank, NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin said Friday that today's scheduled launch of Discovery is a risk, but a risk worth taking. "You're not going to like this, and I'm sure I'm not going to like the way it sounds in print," Griffin said at a press briefing near the launch pad, "but we are playing the odds."
June 22, 2006 | Michael Cabbage, Orlando Sentinel
NASA's top safety official and chief engineer voiced confidence Wednesday that space shuttle Discovery's crew would be safe to launch July 1 despite their "no go" votes at a flight readiness review last weekend. Safety chief Bryan D. O'Connor and chief engineer Chris Scolese based their dissent on concern that possible debris shedding from foam-insulation ramps on the ship's external fuel tank posed an unacceptable risk to Discovery.
June 18, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
NASA decided Saturday to schedule the launch of the shuttle Discovery for July 1, despite the concerns of some top safety officials that the space agency has not yet solved the problem with flaky insulating foam, which brought down the Columbia in 2003.
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