Feeds

Shuttle to fly 13 July

Safety concerns set aside?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

NASA has set the date for the Shuttle's launch, despite suggestions from an independent safety panel earlier this week that all the safety requirements have not yet been met. Discovery is now slated to take to the skies on 13 July, commanded by Eileen Collins.

Chief administrator Michael Griffin said that the space agency had come to the decision after "a vigorous, healthy discussion", adding that while improvements to safety have been made since the loss of Columbia, people need to remember that space flight is an inherently risky business.

The panel concluded on Monday this week that NASA had only partly complied with the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's recommendations, although it commended its efforts. Specifically, the panel said NASA had only met 12 of the 15 recommendations of the CIAB. It said the three NASA had not met were the most fundamentally important, including one that the external tank be fixed so that debris could not fall and damage any part of the shuttle before take-off.

Speaking about the safety panel's findings, Griffin told the press that the panel had looked very literally at some of the safety recommendations. Some recommendations, he added, were currently impossible to implement. "We are up against the limits of our human knowledge," he told Reuters.

Discovery will be the first Shuttle to fly since the Columbia disaster in 2003. A falling chunk of foam damaged the shuttle during take off. When the craft re-entered the atmosphere, that damage was sufficient to cause Columbia to disintegrate, killing all seven astronauts on board.

The 13 July mission is being described as a "test flight". Griffin said that he won't be celebrating until all the Shuttle's wheels are down and the engines are switched off. ®

Related stories

NASA: Ice won't threaten Shuttle launch
Shuttle grounded until July
NASA postpones Shuttle flight

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.