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  1. #1
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    Default Discovery on way back to earth

    Discovery on way back to earth
    15.07.2006

    The US space shuttle Discovery on Saturday undocked from the International Space Station and embarked on its two-day return flight to Earth.

    The undocking manoeuvre, which occurred around 400 kilometres above the Earth and north of New Zealand, was broadcast live by NASA Television and proceeded without complications, NASA said.

    Ground control wished the six astronauts a 'Good return flight.'

    The space shuttle is expected to land at Cape Canaveral space centre in Florida at 13.07 GMT on Monday at the end of its 13-day mission.

    The pilot Mark Kelly steered Saturday the shuttle away from the space station in slow motion - around three metres per minute at first.

    After the first burners ignited, he initially held the Discovery a few hundred metres above the space station to allow cameras on the ISS to conduct a last visual inspection of the shuttle's insulation tiles.

    The space shuttle and ISS orbit the earth every 92 minutes at a speed of 28,000 kilometres per hour.

    German astronaut Thomas Reiter, 48, remained aboard the ISS for the next six months and together with US national Jeffrey Williams and Russian Pavel Vinogradov.

    The Discovery began its return flight to Earth with six astronauts aboard. It is also transporting 2.3 tons of rubbish, defect and unrequired parts for the ISS. So far the flight has gone smoothly. The heat shield did not sustain any external impact damage during take-off.

    In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke apart as it was re- entering the earth's atmosphere, killing all seven crew aboard.

    Investigators then said the disaster had been caused by insulating foam falling from the external fuel tank during launch and hitting the shuttle's wing, compromising the heat shield required to protect it during re-entry.

    Last summer, the protective heat shielding tiles were again damaged during the first launch since the Columbia disaster. They were repaired on the outside while the shuttle was docked to the ISS.

    The next space shuttle launch is scheduled for August 28 when the Atlantis will bring four huge solar energy panels to the ISS.

  2. #2
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    Default Update...

    NASA managers reviewing laser scans of Discovery's nose cap and wing leading edge panels have found no signs of any micrometeoroid impacts and have officially cleared the shuttle for re-entry Monday, weather permitting, to close out a space station repair and resupply mission.

    In a brief chat with shuttle commander Steve Lindsey, mission control also said engineers believe a leaking hydraulic power unit that was tested earlier today can be safely used during re-entry and landing at the Kennedy Space Center.

    Entry flight director Steve Stich has decided not to staff NASA's backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Monday and instead to focus on Florida only. The crew will have two landing opportunities on successive orbits, the first leading to a touchdown at 9:14 a.m. and the second around 10:50 a.m.

    If they can't make it back to Florida Monday because of weather or any other problems, Discovery will remain in orbit an extra day and likely land Tuesday in either Florida or California.

    "After finishing the review for the port and starboard wings and the nose cap, they did not see anything new so they all look pretty good," astronaut Steve Frick radioed from the Johnson Space Center. "For weather ... the clouds shouldn't be an issue tomorrow, however there's still a chance of showers for the first rev and a little higher chance probably for the second rev. There's a front extending off into the Atlantic and depending on how it moves tonight, it may be close enough to cause some showers in the area. So we'll be looking real close at that. Edwards is looking real good both tomorrow and Tuesday if we need it."

    "OK, we copy that," Lindsey said. "And is the vehicle cleared for entry?"

    "That's affirm, I'm being told I can use that word. You are cleared for entry."

    "OK, thanks," Lindsey said. "And a question about tomorrow. Will we land no matter what? Or will we just go for KSC tomorrow?"

    "Tomorrow is KSC only," Frick replied. "For Tuesday, we'll look at other sites. But for tomorrow, we're just calling up KSC. However, the weather does look good for the West Coast for at least the next two days."

    "OK, copy that."

    Frick then passed on the latest thinking about APU 1, the hydraulic power unit in Discovery's engine compartment that is leaking either nitrogen gas or toxic hydrazine fuel. Engineers believe the small leak is nitrogen, used to pressurize the tank, and that more than enough will be available for entry.

    While they cannot rule out a more hazardous hydrazine leak, results from a test run earlier today indicate APU 1 can safely be used for a normal re-entry and landing.

    "They are feeling more and more confident it's likely not an internal ... hydrazine leak," Frick said. "There's always the chance, but we're feeling a little bit more comfortable with it. So the plan for APU 1 tomorrow will be nominal ops, we're not going to try to start it early or do anything unusual to burn extra hydrazine out of there. We'll be looking at it close like we did to day during FCS (flight control system) checkout. And it looked just fine today."

    "OK, we copy that," Lindsey said. "Sounds great, thanks."

  3. #3
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    Default

    Aterizarea navetei Discovery planificata pentru azi 17 iul ora 16:14 RO.
    In Direct pe internet aici :
    http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/st...ont/index.html
    Daca stiti vreun feed pentru a putea vedea si pe satelit, postati aici.
    Merci!

  4. #4
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    Default

    Aterizarea navetei Discovery este LIVE pe UP4(NASA TV) pe Eutelsat W1 10.0E
    10970 V
    SR 4167

 

 

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