Feeds

Space shuttle Discovery launched

New International Space Station module in tow

High performance access to file storage

The space shuttle Discovery was successfully launched today, despite zero-hour concerns about a chunk of ice on the fuel tank.

The crew of seven blasted off at 11:38 a.m. EST, on a 14-day mission to begin the refurbishment of the $100bn International Space Station which will house Europe's first permanent laboratory in orbit.

"I'd like to wish you good luck, Godspeed and have a little fun up there," launch director Mike Leinbach told the crew before liftoff.

Just two hours before lift-off, a 10cm by 3.8cm piece of ice was discovered on plumbing between the external fuel tank and the shuttle. The ice, however, was determined to be too small by NASA to pose a serious launch hazard.

The astronauts will install a new Italian-built module for the space station called Harmony, which will serve as a berthing port for the anticipated Columbus laboratory. NASA plans to launch Columbus aboard the shuttle Atlantis on December 6 — a mere five years behind schedule.

Columbus will be the European Space Agency's main contribution to the space station, and has already cost the ESA $7.08bn. The lab is expected to run up an additional $5.66bn through its life-cycle.

The crew will also move an enormous girder and pair of solar panels to a new location on the space station.

Five spacewalks are planned, four to complete the construction and one to test a new method for fixing damaged shuttle thermal tiles. ®

Geocentrist artist's representation

Geocentrist artist's representation: While passing through heaven, they may spot

Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, and my childhood dog Wuffers.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.