As a result, NASA removed or reshaped several areas of tank foam, installed an array of ground cameras to monitor launches, and put new cameras and sensors on shuttles to detect possible launch debris strikes or hits by micro-meteoroids while in orbit.
"We don't have any slack [leeway],air jordan," he said. "We have just enough shuttle flights left to do the job. So, we can't afford to mess up."
NASA chief Michael Griffin attributes Discovery's near-pristine condition to these new measures and a bit of luck.
Discovery's safe landing is an obvious relief to NASA,supra, which was forced to halt assembly of the half-built space station more than three years ago when the shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry into the atmosphere.
NASA chief Griffin points out that shuttle flights are always risky and that station assembly missions are the most complicated that shuttles fly. He says only 16 shuttle flights remain before the fleet is retired in 2010, and more orbiter troubles could be ruinous for the space station's construction schedule.
"So with this flight,supra shoes, in our minds,cheap christian louboutin, we are ready to get on with assembly, and we will do just that," noted Mike Suffredini.
By David McAlary
17 July 2006
The U.S. space shuttle Discovery has landed in Florida, ending a resupply and maintenance mission to the International Space Station. Its successful flight means the space agency NASA can finally resume construction of the station.
After landing, shuttle commander Steve Lindsey inspected the spacecraft and declared it free of damage, after its nearly nine million-kilometer journey.
"This is my fourth flight, and I've done four walk-arounds,burberry pas cher, and I've never seen a vehicle that looked as clean as this one did," said Steve Lindsey.
Station assembly restarts late next month,, when the shuttle Atlantis is to deliver a pair of solar energy panels, new batteries and a truss segment on which to mount other components.
"This is as good a mission as we've ever flown,christian louboutin uk, but we're not going to get overconfident,air jordan," said Michael Griffin. "We have to take it flight by flight."
That is important to NASA, because it worked more than three years to ensure that shuttles suffer as little damage as possible from the kind of launch debris that doomed Columbia. That orbiter burned up when searing atmospheric gases entered a hole in its wing, caused by hard foam insulation that broke away from the external fuel tank during liftoff and hit it.
Discovery, roaring like any other airplane, glided smoothly onto a runway at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
During Discovery's two-week flight, two spacewalking astronauts tested new procedures to make repairs in orbit to the shuttle's fragile heat shield. The orbiter also transported a third crew member to the space station, which had only two since Columbia's accident. Station manager Mike Suffredini says it also hauled up new supplies and equipment,christian louboutin, and its crewmembers made repairs to station systems critical to resuming the outpost's construction.
Griffin thanked America's international partners in the space station program for their patience and support,basket air jordan, while NASA took time to make shuttles safer to fly.
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