28th July 2005, 22:33
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| | Discovery in danger again!!!!!!!
read this.............................................. ..........
Originally Posted by http://web.mid-day.com/news/world/2005/july/114955.htm
NASA has grounded further flights of the space shuttle fleet after a large piece of insulating foam broke off the external fuel tank of the Discovery shortly after liftoff on Tuesday, a problem that doomed the Columbia shuttle killing seven astronauts two years ago.
The space agency said the mysterious object that came flying off Discovery’s fuel tank during liftoff was a large piece of foam insulation, which might have doomed the spacecraft had it made contact.
While there is no indication of the foam having contacted the Discovery orbiter, the incident should not have happened in the first place and is reason enough to put on hold future flights, NASA officials said.
Images taken of the external tank in orbit identified the foam separation, and also detailed additional areas where the material pulled loose from its tank.
‘‘You have to admit when you’re wrong. We were wrong. We need to do some work here, and so we’re telling you right now, that the ... foam should not have come off. We’ve got to do something about that,’’ Shuttle Programme Manager Bill Parsons told journalists at Johnson Space Center.
‘‘Until we’ve fixed this, we’re not ready to fly, You could say that we’re grounded,’’ Parsons said.
Engineers believe the foam piece was only somewhat smaller than the chunk that smashed into Columbia’s left wing during liftoff in January 2003.
The damage Columbia sustained that day caused the orbiter to break apart during re-entry, killing all seven astronauts aboard including India-born Kalpana Chawla.