Nasa plans first launch since 'Columbia' disaster
Friday 01 July 2005
Nasa administrator Michael Griffin yesterday said he and his staff were as ready as they were ever going to be to relaunch the shuttle following an exhaustive review of what went wrong with the Columbia flight and an effort to plug as many of the security holes as possible.
"We're currently 'go' for launch of Discovery on July 13," Mr Griffin said. "The proximate causes of the loss of Columbia have been addressed. Many other things which could have been of concern or would have been of concern have also been addressed. We honestly believe this is the cleanest flight we have ever done. The only other flight that will ever be cleaner is the next one."
It has been a fraught couple of years for Nasa, which has had to put construction of the International Space Station, which the shuttles were servicing, largely on hold while it investigated the Columbia disaster. The new shuttle was originally scheduled to be launched in May, but that was postponed when some last-minute problems concerning the possibility of ice damage were discovered.
Earlier this week, an independent panel found that Nasa had not fully implemented three of the 15 safety recommendations made after Columbia. But the panel said the oversights were not serious enough to warrant postponement.
"We are being as smart about this as we know how to be," Mr Griffin said. "But we are up against the limits of our human knowledge. If someone wants more, they're going to have to find smarter humans."
Columbia came to grief because a suitcase-sized piece of foam hit one of its wings during take-off, punching a hole in the skin of the craft that allowed hot gas to seep in and trigger an explosion on re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. Discovery, the new craft, is still susceptible to foam damage, according to the independent panel, but the risk of it creating a major problem is now much diminished.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Film follows park rangers in the Congo
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk 'tactical missile' explosion at factory sends blast wave across rebel-held city
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: We are recruiting for a Systems and ...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Group: English as an Additional Langua...
£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...
£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...