Feeds

NASA gives thumbs up to new Shuttle missions

Hubble still out in the cold

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

NASA says that its plans to return to flight are on track for a May launch, confirming that all of the criteria for a new mission have now been met.

The US space agency grounded its Shuttle fleet after the loss of Columbia in February 2003. The shuttle burned-up on re-entry, because of a gap in its insulation tiles. Superheated gases made their way into the craft during re-entry, causing it to disintegrate. The accident killed all seven astronauts aboard.

After the disaster, NASA investigators grounded all shuttles, and set stringent safety conditions on any subsequent flights. The return to flight date was shifted back by three days in February after concerns were raised about lighting conditions during the launch.

At that stage, six of the fifteen criteria were still outstanding, but now NASA says it has everything in place. An independent watchdog is expected to give its formal approval next week.

In a report issued yesterday (Tuesday), NASA said: "As we look forward to the limited launch window opportunities in 2005, it is reasonable to ask ourselves if the shuttle is safe enough. Although we will never eliminate all the risks from our space shuttle missions, we are confident that we have eliminated those that constituted the proximate cause of the Columbia loss."

The loss of Columbia has also cast a shadow over the future of the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA has grounded all missions on a non-space station orbit, meaning Hubble's much needed service mission has been scrapped. ®

Related stories

'Star Wars' vet appointed NASA head
NASA bumps return to flight
Bush bins Hubble fix
Shuttle launch moves closer

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?