Feeds

Delayed Discovery takes to the skies

Third time lucky

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off successfully yesterday evening from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral at 2.38pm local time (7.38pm BST).

The launch had been postponed twice because of poor weather, and again, thunderstorms threatened to ruin the day. Fortunately, the bad stuff stayed out at sea, and the launch could go ahead as planned.

Nasa rocket

The decision to launch was taken despite fresh concerns over the stability of the foam insulation on the external tanks. After the shuttle was refueled on Sunday, engineers noticed a 13cm crack in the foam near a fuel line. There was also a smaller piece of foam missing. However, these were judged to be tolerable for launch.

The launch footage shows several pieces of debris falling from the tank. NASA scientists have flagged a few of these for further study, and will now examine the footage more closely to see whether any of these pose a threat to the integrity of the craft.

The crew will also examine Discovery using the boom sensor system. Additionally, they will perform a slow back flip, allowing cameras on the International Space Station (ISS) to take a good look at the ship from every angle.

The mission, which will deliver two tons of equipment to the ISS, has up to three space walks scheduled. The first will test the orbiter's boom arm to see how much load it can bear. The second will be to repair a power cable on the ISS.

The third, which will only happen if managers can extend the mission by a day, will see the NASA astronaut attempt to repair deliberately broken heat shield tiles. This will allow engineers to see how well such repairs withstand the rigors of re-entry.

After 13 days in orbit, the Shuttle will return to Earth, leaving German astronaut Thomas Reiter behind on the ISS. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.