Space shuttle Discovery poised for July launch
All systems are "go", NASA officials said on Wednesday after a two-day review of the dangers posed by foam falling off the vehicle's external tank.india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 22:25 IST
All systems are "go" for a July launch of space shuttle Discovery, NASA officials said on Wednesday after a two-day review of the dangers posed by foam falling off the vehicle's external tank.
NASA managers and engineers have concluded that the risk from falling foam is acceptable and that any foam fragments would be significantly smaller than the 1-pound piece that fell off Discovery last year, said Wayne Hale, shuttle program manager.
An even larger piece of foam fell off the tank during Columbia's liftoff in 2003, causing a breach in a wing that allowed fiery gases to shatter the spacecraft during re-entry. All seven astronauts were killed.
Discovery's launch, sometime between July 1 and July 19, will be only the second shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster. "We have found no show stoppers," Hale said after the first-of-its kind meeting involving 100 engineers and managers. "We believe we have made significant improvements since last year in the elimination of many of the hazards from foam."