I think the old girl is trying to tell NASA something, she doesn’t want to fly.
Space shuttle Discovery’s final flight keeps getting delayed.
The space station delivery mission is now off until the end of February. NASA had been aiming for an early February liftoff, but managers decided Thursday to take more time to complete repairs to Discovery’s external fuel tank.
Following a failed launch attempt in early November, cracks were found in metal struts of the massive tank. More cracks were discovered last week, after the shuttle was returned to its hangar. NASA is considering reinforcing all 108 struts on the central part of the tank for extra safety, NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said Friday.
The initial cracks were so big that the insulating foam on top of the damaged struts, or so-called stringers, split open. That’s NASA’s main concern: Cracking could cause foam to break away during liftoff and slam into Discovery. Columbia ended up being destroyed in 2003 after a slab of foam gouged a wing.
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Space Shuttle Discovery
Space Shuttle Discovery
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Discovery is more than 25 years old and even when these space shuttles are in perfect shape they’re the most inherently unsafe manned spacecraft the U.S. has ever flown. Personally, I say pull the plug now, Discovery belongs in a museum, not on a launch pad. She obviously doesn’t want to fly, why tempt fate?
/is it really worth risking another shuttle crew to deliver some equipment to a space station that’s probably going to be abandoned within ten years anyway?
Filed under: Blog Entry | Tagged: Allard Beutel, Cape Canaveral, Columbia, Cracking, Cracks, Damaged Struts, Delayed, Destroyed, Discovery, External Fuel Tank, Failed Launch Attempt, February Liftoff, Florida, Gouged, Hangar, Insulating Foam, International Space Station, ISS, Managers, NASA, NASA Spokesman, National Aeronautics And Space Administration, Reinforcing, Repairs, Space Mtation Delivery Mission, Space Shuttle, Split Open, Stringers, Struts, Wing |