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Shuttle launch
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Weather forecasters at the Kennedy Space Centre predict a 40 percent chance that weather would not be favourable for the planned launch.

Should Wednesday's launch be called off, NASA would attempt it again on Thursday, when chances of unfavourable weather would be only 30 percent.

Live web camera streams from the Kennedy Space Centre.


RealPlayer Stream



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Nasa WebTV



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-- Edited by Blobrana at 17:39, 2005-07-13

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The Defence Department will be well-represented when Space Shuttle Discovery launches into space July 13, with three of the seven crewmembers from the military, including the commander, retired Col. Eileen Collins.

As the clock ticks toward the scheduled 3:51 p.m. EDT lift-off, crews are making final preparations, and NASA officials report that all details appear to be "go."

Discovery's crew includes three seasoned military astronauts. Colonel Collins and Navy Capt. Wendy Lawrence, mission specialist and logistics manager, both have three previous spaceflights under their belts. Col. James Kelly, who will serve as Discovery's pilot, was a member of the March 2001 resupply mission to the International Space Station.

In 1995, Colonel Collins was the first woman to pilot a space shuttle (Discovery STS-63) on the first joint American-Russian mission, and included a rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir.
In 1999, she was the first woman to command a shuttle mission.
She has logged more than 6,280 hours in 30 different types of aircraft, with more than 537 hours in space.

Colonel Kelly has logged more than 3,000 hours in more than 35 different aircraft. In 2001, he flew the eighth shuttle mission to visit the international space station aboard Discovery, NASA reported.
A naval aviator since 1982, Captain Lawrence has flown more than 1,500 hours in six different types of helicopters and made more than 800 shipboard landings.
Colonel Collins said she is confident of her crewmembers who have been training for this mission for the past two years.

"I have a fantastic crew. The seven shuttle crewmembers have been so professional in the work that we have done up to this point." - Colonel Collins.

During the 13-day mission, the Discovery crew will travel to the international space station, test new safety procedures and deliver supplies and science equipment to the orbital outpost.
As members of the first shuttle mission since Columbia exploded over Texas in February 2003, killing all seven crewmembers, the three said they and their families recognize the risks involved.
The crew's loss was "absolutely overwhelming. It's hard enough to lose one friend, and as a naval aviator, I've lost squadron mates and friends before. But to lose seven of them all at once is just absolutely devastating." - Captain Lawrence.

Yet as the daughter and granddaughter of military aviators, Captain Lawrence said she and her family understand the risks.
"My mother's father flew in World War II. He was shot down over the Philippines and, fortunately, was rescued. My father was shot down over Vietnam and didn't return until six years later. So my family understands the risks." - Captain Lawrence.
"Coming from my background as a fighter pilot, I've lost friends in the flying world, and so you realize that the next flight of anything could be the last flight you're on" - Colonel Kelly.
He acknowledged that flying in space is riskier than travel in other aircraft, but said it is a risk he is willing to take, and that he hopes he has prepared his family for it as well.
Colonel Kelly said what drives him is "holding on to that dream" ; a dream he said he has had since he was 5 years old and became enamoured with the Apollo moon missions.
It is the same dream Colonel Collins said she had as a child growing up in Elmira, N.Y., dubbed "the soaring capital of America" for its rich history in flight and collection of period planes. It was the dream Captain Lawrence shared as a 10-year-old when she watched images of the first man walking on the moon on her family's black-and-white TV set.

During Discovery's "Return to Flight" mission, the crewmembers said they recognize the contribution they will be making to the U.S. space program.

"I understand very well the significance of this mission. It's very important for us to get back to space." - Captain Lawrence.
Besides moving the space program forward, Captain Lawrence called the upcoming mission a way to honour the memories of the Columbia crew and their commitment to space exploration.
By building on that commitment, the astronauts said they believe they are becoming a part of something bigger than themselves.

"If you look through history, you see that the explorers and the countries that were doing the exploring were the ones that were making the world a better place to live in. That's still true." - Colonel Kelly


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NASA will go ahead with the first space shuttle mission since the 2003 Columbia disaster after replacing two damaged heat-resistant tiles on the shuttle Discovery.

"The issue has been resolved. Launch is a go" - Mike Rein, NASA spokesman.

The two tiles were damaged when a plastic window cover weighing less than 1 kilogram fell off Discovery as the spacecraft sat on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida, during the countdown to Wednesday's scheduled launch at 1951 GMT.
The damage caused by falling debris rang alarm bells because that was precisely the problem that doomed Columbia.
In that case, Columbia's left wing was damaged by a chunk of foam insulation that weighed 0.76 kilogram. The damage opened a hole in Columbia's skin that let in superheated gas during re-entry, tearing the ship apart and killing all seven astronauts.

"This is a minor repair for us. They have given us a go for launch" - Stephanie Stilson, Discovery's manager.

The shuttle's window covers are removed before launch.

The damage repair came just hours after NASA's administrator, Michael Griffin, had said all issues except possible bad weather had been settled and Discovery was ready for launch.

"Everything is at rest today. Yesterday we were working a couple of ... issues and those were amply put to bed, so we're in good shape" Griffin said, adding that he hoped "the weather gods are kind for tomorrow"

"Can there be something that we don't know about that can bite us? Yeah, this is a tough business, it's a very tough business but everything that we know about has been covered." - Michael Griffin

NASA has not flown a shuttle mission since Columbia disintegrated over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003.
Discovery's mission will test improvements made to the shuttle to reduce falling debris at lift-off and experimental procedures for repairing damaged heat resistant tiles.

The shuttle, under the command of veteran astronaut Eileen Collins, will also deliver much-needed supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. The station's construction (a 16-country project) has been on hold since the remaining three-shuttle fleet was grounded.
NASA weather forecasters said the outlook for launch was good, but they increased the risk of thunderstorms.

"For our launch forecast, we did get a little more pessimistic on this today. There's a 40 percent chance of weather prohibiting launch" - Kathy Winters, weather officer.

Any thunderstorm must be at least 20 nautical miles from the shuttle to allow a launch. A network of 112 cameras set up to monitor Discovery's surface as it soars will need clear skies to get good images.

The families of the seven astronauts killed in Columbia's fatal break-up offered their support.
"We have had 2 1/2 years to reflect daily on the loss of our loved ones as the shuttle Columbia broke apart over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003," the families said in a statement.

"... We have every confidence that the sacrifice of our loved ones and those that preceded them will be realized for the benefit of mankind. Godspeed Discovery."

If Discovery's launch is delayed, NASA can attempt it twice more before having to break for a few days to refuel the craft's onboard power generators.
The current launch window runs from July 13 through July 31. The next one opens Sept. 9.


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With the countdown for Discovery in its final hours, NASA was dealt a setback Tuesday when a window cover fell off the shuttle and damaged thermal tiles near the tail.

But the space agency said it probably could fix the problem in time for Wednesday's launch.
No workers were nearby when the window cover fell off and dropped about 18 metres.

It was not immediately clear why the cover (which was held by tape) came loose.


NASA spokesman Kyle Herring points to the spot on a model of shuttle Discovery to highlight where a window covering fell, damaging several tiles on the space shuttle

-- Edited by Blobrana at 00:35, 2005-07-13

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RE: HDNet LIVE!
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HDNet News Special Report - LIVE!

HD Net will be showing the shuttle launch through cable and satellite feed on Wednesday July 13th.
Live coverage in High Definition at 11:00 AM ET 8:00 AM PT

The launch is not for certain due to weather issues associated with hurricane Dennis. Currently it is estimated as a 70% chance of launch on Wednesday, with the chances lowering later in the week.

Press release


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RE: Shuttle launch
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Although they were keeping a cautious eye on Hurricane Dennis as it moved through the Caribbean, NASA flight operations officials decided to leave the Space Shuttle Discovery on its launch pad at Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 8, 2005, in anticipation of the scheduled launch - July 13, weather permitting.

Cape Canaveral is roughly in the middle of Florida`s eastern coastline, just over 75 kilometres east of Orlando, and the forecasted path for Dennis as of July 8 called for the storm to swing wide of eastern Florida and head toward the Gulf of Mexico.


Expand

This image from the Ikonos satellite shows Discovery on launch pad 39B on April 8, 2005.
The tip of the bright orange external fuel tank is clearly visible, with the white, solid rocket booster snug up next to it. The orbiter itself is "in front of" (to the left in the image) the booster and fuel tank, but it is almost completely hidden by the support scaffolding, which swings away from the spacecraft before the final countdown to launch.
Only the tip of the shuttle`s right wing is visible; it sticks out as a slim white triangle between the grey scaffolding and the rocket booster.

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NASA's first space shuttle flight since the 2003 Columbia disaster is set to launch on July 13 at 1951 GMT ( 3:51 p.m. EDT).
The space shot has a launch window stretching through July 31.

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NASA Return to Flight Press Kit Available Online

The press kit for the Space Shuttle Discovery Return to Flight mission (STS-114) is available online. The mission is scheduled to launch July 13.

The press kit contains detailed information about the mission, Commander Eileen Collins and the Discovery crew. The kit includes information about modifications to the Shuttle's External Tank and other changes.

The press kit and other information about the mission is available on the Web:

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/112301main_114_pk_july05.pdf (PDF)

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RE: Shuttle launch 13 July
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Nasa has set 13 July as the launch date for Discovery, the first shuttle to go into space since the Columbia disaster in February 2003.
The announcement follows a two-day review of the Discovery's readiness for lift-off.

Commander Eileen Collins and her crew are scheduled to lift off at 1951 GMT.

"After a vigorous, healthy discussion our team has come to a decision: we're ready to go. The past two and half years have resulted in significant improvements that have greatly reduced the risk of flying the Shuttle. But we should never lose sight of the fact that space flight is risky" - Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator.


-- Edited by Blobrana at 03:15, 2005-07-01

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RE: Shuttle launch
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Photo by Rick Fowler

Bill Parsons, manager of the space shuttle program, spoke during a news conference at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on June 24, 2005. After reviewing analysis on how possible foam and ice impacts might affect the shuttle, Parsons said he sees no impediments to the planned launch of shuttle Discovery as early as July 13.


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