Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

"Back to the future": countdown to Shuttle return to flight

24.03.2005


Launch pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will soon see the Shuttle blasting off again for a new exciting mission in space. According to NASA’s current schedule, this will be between 15 May and 3 June (the precise date will be set once the flight readiness review process has been completed at the end of April).

The success of this mission will secure the future of the International Space Station (ISS), as the Shuttle is the only spacecraft capable of transporting new modules from the USA, Europe and Japan to continue its construction. ESA needs the Shuttle to deliver its Columbus laboratory to the ISS, where it will enable international crews to conduct a variety of experiments in material sciences, medicine, biology and technology. Through the nationally-funded European Soyuz missions with ESA astronauts to the ISS, today Europe has become the largest scientific user of the Space Station, while ESA has developed sophisticated multi-purpose experimental facilities for the Columbus laboratory to further enhance the ISS utilisation programme.

Since the Columbia accident on 1 February 2003, NASA has made steady progress in addressing key safety issues and preparing the Shuttle fleet for spaceflight. Improvements include:



- a redesigned external tank, which reduces the risk of foam hitting the orbiter during lift-off;
- new sensors at the leading edges of the wings to detect debris impact using
- accelerometers and real-time transmission of data;
- more and improved cameras on the Shuttle and on the ground to detect debris;

an extension boom to the Shuttle’s Canadian robotic arm that will allow astronauts to inspect the spacecraft for any damage.

The seven-strong Discovery crew will fly to the ISS to test and evaluate the new technologies and procedures for Shuttle inspection and in-orbit repair.

The crew are: Commander Eileen Collins - this is only the second ever Shuttle mission headed by a woman - Pilot James Kelly, Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi from Japan, Steve Robinson, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence and Charles Camarda.

Steve Robinson and Soichi Noguchi will make three spacewalks outside the Shuttle. STS-114 will be the third trip to the ISS for the European-built multi-purpose logistics module (MPLM), now named "Raffaello". It’s essentially a "removal van" that transports supplies to the Station. Raffaello will deliver consumables and supplies, notably food, water and air, and of particular interest to the media, batteries and a photo and TV resupply kit with new camera lenses and videotapes.

Twelve days after lift-off, Discovery is scheduled to re-enter the atmosphere and land at the Kennedy Space Center.

Successful completion of this flight will open the door to further missions by ESA astronauts to the ISS. With the Shuttle’s return to flight, the size of the permanent expedition crews on the ISS can be brought back to three, leading to resumption of the full experimental programme. In 2006 ESA’s unmanned Automatic Transfer Vehicle (ATV) will make its maiden flight, having been put into orbit by an Ariane 5 launcher, carrying equipment, propellant, food, water and air for the crew on board the ISS, after which it will be performing similar missions every 12 to 18 months.

Franco Bonacina | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM16YRMD6E_index_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
20.01.2017 | San Francisco State University

nachricht Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>