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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

INDEPENDENCE DAY: Star Spangled Liftoff of Discovery!

The rocket's red glare was witnessed at the Kennedy spaceport as the space shuttle Discovery roared to life [video] on the nation's first Independence Day launch of astronauts. All systems are report ly "nominal" in launch ascent with seven astronauts aboard. The spacecraft has now given chase to dock with the International Space Station on Thursday. Clear skies may enable Americans to watch the shuttle close-in on the ISS from Earth at various locations and times. Sightings are possible by checking HERE. Weather was not a factor in the successful launch that had twice been delayed Saturday and Sunday due to cloud cover in the Cape Canveral area.

The success of this mission will enable NASA to resume the construction of the space station through 2010. The space shuttle fleet will then be retired. A final shuttle mission dedicated to the Hubble Space Telescope is expected to be announced in the fall for a 2007 launch.

Following the retirement of the space shuttle, NASA will debut the Crew Launch Vehicle (CEV) and the Ares I booster rocket in 2012. Plans to leave earth orbit for a return to the Moon in 2018 are in process. If successful in the management, technical aspects, and Congressional funding, the CEV will be the first human-rated spacecraft to leave Earth orbit in nearly fifty years!

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Is this one of those "spend millions researching a pen that writes in space" moments when the Russians thought for a moment and said... PENCIL!

This makes me wonder; why can't they simply pull out the old Saturn V moon landing blueprints and start substituting new materials and computer hardware? Why do they need to re-research it? They supposedly have a safe and "proven" system and complete working methodology. The old designs, as provided by NASA, are actually CHEAPER and MORE EFFICIENT than the current shuttle system.

What's up NASA?