Shuttle Discovery Launches Successfully

The Space Shuttle Discovery successfully launched this morning, marking the first launch since the Columbia disaster nearly 2 1/2 years ago which claimed the lives of its entire crew and set in motion mass overhauls of the shuttle's heat shields which failed upon re-entry due to damage sustained during takeoff. Since that time, nearly 50 major safety improvements had been made.

Liftoff was at 10:39 EST in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This return to orbit for Discovery had been delayed weeks due to problems and bad weather, compounded by the uneasiness of returning the shuttle to flight after such a long hiatus. The ascent was monitored by two chase planes and 100 cameras for signs of any damage which could jeopardize the ship's re-entry into the atmosphere at the end of its mission. The launch was witnessed by the families of both the Discovery and Columbia crews.

Discovery's mission is to deliver to the half-finished International Space Station nearly three years of supplies put on back order since the last shuttle visit in late 2002. The entire quest is expected to last 12 days.


There's your test story. Like the comments, there's no way for us to edit it after posting. Presumably your interface has options for editing since you're privileges are higher. Then again, the forced preview seems to be sufficient. (I'm typing this sentence after clicking the Preview button for the first time and realizing I had more to say.) Since accounts have to be approved, I don't expect moderation to be a problem. We all possess good judgement, right?

So much for the return of the shuttle to operation. It seems that they've decided to hold back on any further launches at this point to deal with fuel tank issues

It's kind of interesting to hear that they're planning some in-flight repairs to Discovery's heat shield

What I find interesting is that NASA has never practiced for EVA repairs?!? Just like in the old sailing days, sometimes you need to repair something and you may not have the luxury of being at a proper facility.