Discovery Space Shuttle

Posted: February 26, 2011 by chaas8191 in Uncategorized

Tis week, the space shuttle will  attempt a massive feat before launching for the last time to dock at the International Space Station.  According to USA today: ”

Discovery was the first orbiter to execute the nose-over-tail backflip just 600 feet below the outpost, as part of new heat shield inspection procedures that helped return the shuttle fleet to flight after the Columbia accident.

“They gave us the ability to move forward knowing that we had a vehicle that was safe to continue the mission and to return for de-orbit and entry,” LeRoy Cain, the deputy shuttle program manager, said of the inspection process first practiced in 2005.

All indications so far are that Discovery’s heat shields are in good condition on its final flight after a 4:53 p.m. ET Thursday launch from Kennedy Space Center.

Four pieces of external tank foam or other debris that came loose during the trip to space did so at times when they wouldn’t strike with great force, Cain said.

“When I look preliminarily at how Discovery looks in orbit and the performance of the external tank, I absolutely don’t expect that to be any issue,” he said.

Saturday in space

6:53 a.m. ET: Discovery crew awakes.

8:33 a.m.: Rendezvous operations begin.

11:32 a.m.: Engine burn to adjust trajectory.

1:06 p.m. Discovery performs pre-docking backflip.

2:19 p.m.: Docking at International Space Station.

4:18 p.m.: Hatch opening and welcome ceremony.

4:53 p.m.: Station’s robotic arm grapples and removes spare parts pallet from payload bay.

5:53 p.m.: Station’s robotic arm hands pallet off to shuttle’s robotic arm.

6:38 p.m.: Station arm moves bases.

7:08 p.m.: Shuttle arm hands pallet back to station arm.

7:48 p.m.: Station arm installs pallet on Starboard-3 truss segment.

10:23 p.m.: Station crew sleeps.

10:53 p.m.: Discovery crew sleeps .

Shuttle managers won’t give a certain bill of health until Sunday, after analysts finish reviewing images captured during inspections that began Friday.

Discovery crewmembers robotically scanned the edges of the orbiter’s wing and its nose cap, the areas subjected to the most intense heat during atmospheric re-entry.”.

This is a huge deal for the Space Station and for NASA.  I thought it was Interesting to hear and I feel that NASA isnt publicized in the news enough so i decided to post this.



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