The ongoing drought in Texas has turned up new debris from the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster that killed seven NASA astronauts when the shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry over Texas and Louisiana. The spherical tank was found in an exposed part of Lake Nacogdoches about 160 miles northeast of Houston where it came to rest after the disaster eight years ago.
NASA's youngest space shuttle left Earth for the last time Monday, carrying a physics experiment and spare parts to the International Space Station. It was a bittersweet moment for shuttle followers who watched the shuttle's picture-perfect liftoff with the knowledge that there's only one of these left.
Commander Mark Kelly had some poignant words in the moments before ignition.
After more than two months of delays, NASA said yesterday that space shuttle engineers have diagnosed the cause of Discovery’s crack problem, and the defective aluminum alloy struts are being patched and reinforced to shore up the problem. That means Discovery might finally make its final flight as soon as Feb. 24, though no target date has been announced.
NASA engineers are still working to figure out exactly what caused a brief, one-time irregular power drop to one of the main engine controllers on the shuttle Discovery. But even if they fix the glitch the thrice-delayed mission faces an 80 percent chance of being delayed by weather tomorrow, Kathy Winters – NASA's appropriately named shuttle weather officer – says.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis is prepped for its final launch on Friday, when it will embark on a 12-day mission delivering supplies to the ISS, installing a new Russian space station module, and replacing some aging battery packs on one of the station's solar arrays.