| ||Discovery Completes First of Two Test Missions |
Image above: In Kennedy Space Center's Orbiter Processing Facility, the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello rests inside Discovery's payload bay following STS-114. The module will be transferred to the Space Station Processing Facility to be emptied. Image credit: NASA/KSC
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Space Shuttle Discovery launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center July 26, 2005, ending a two-and-a-half year wait for the historic Return to Flight mission. STS-114 included breathtaking in-orbit maneuvers, tests of new equipment and procedures, and a first-of-its-kind spacewalking repair.
Discovery touched down Aug. 9 at Edwards Air Force Base in California following a successful reentry. The orbiter returned Aug. 21 to Kennedy Space Center atop a modified Boeing 747 called the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Discovery is now in the Orbiter Processing Facility, where it will be readied for mission STS-121.
Learn more about the STS-114 mission, from liftoff through touchdown.
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STS-114 Photo Galleries:
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NASA announced that the next Space Shuttle mission, STS-121, is now targeted for March 2006. This will be the second test flight to the International Space Station in the Shuttle Return to Flight series. NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and Associate Administrator for Space Operations William Gerstenmaeir made the announcement at a briefing on August 18.
"We are giving ourselves what we hope is plenty of time to evaluate where we are," said Administrator Griffin. "We don't see the tasks remaining before us being as difficult as the path behind us."
+ View Transcript (53 Kb PDF) | + Read Press Release
A pair of "Tiger Teams" continues to investigate the External Tank foam loss during Discovery's launch on July 26. Gerstenmaier says the teams have identified the major areas of concern and are making good progress on dealing with the problems.
Discovery will be used for STS-121 instead of Atlantis, putting NASA in a better position for future missions to the Space Station. Atlantis will fly the following mission, STS-115, carrying Space Station truss segments which are too heavy to be carried by Discovery. By changing the lineup, the program won't have to fly back to back missions with Atlantis, as was previously scheduled.
+ Final Report of the Return to Flight Task Group (4.9 MB PDF)
Foam Loss Locations: + View as JPG | + View as PDF
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