Entries in Discovery (10)


Space Shuttle Discovery Takes Off One Last Time

NASA/Tim JacobsUPDATE: The Space Shuttle Discovery, mounted on a 747 carrier aircraft, flew over the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday before being delivered from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to its final home, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution in northern Virginia.

(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- After 39 missions since its first flight in 1984, space shuttle Discovery took off one last time on Tuesday to head to its final resting place -- a museum in Washington, D.C.

The retired space shuttle departed at daybreak from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, where it made its final landing over a year ago on March 9, 2011. 

Propped atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747, Discovery will fly over the nation's capital before landing in Dulles International Airport.  It will then be transported to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Space Shuttles Discovery, Endeavour Swap Places at Space Center

Space shuttle Discovery pictured on right. NASA/Frankie Martin(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- In a rare sight, two of NASA's now-retired space shuttles were seen being moved late Thursday from one building to another at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Space shuttle Discovery was removed from the Vehicle Assembly Building and transported into the Orbiter Processing Facility, where Endeavour formerly resided.  Endeavour, in turn, swapped places with Discovery, moving into the assembly building.

Both orbiters have already been stripped of their engines and thrusters so that they can be shipped off to museums where they will spend the rest of their days.

Discovery will be sent to the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport in Virginia, while Endeavour is scheduled to go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  The other surviving space shuttle, Atlantis, will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center visitors' center.

NASA's 30-year space shuttle program came to an end on July 21 when Atlantis returned from the International Space Station after a 13-day mission -- the final one for the program.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NASA to Announce Homes for Retired Space Shuttles

ABC News(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- Marking the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle launch, NASA will hold a ceremony Tuesday to announce where three retired space shuttles will go to rest once the program ends later this year.

Over 20 museums and science centers across the U.S. are vying for the remaining space shuttles -- Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis.  The chosen hosts will have to shell out about $28 million to prepare, deliver and set up a space shuttle for exhibit.

The announcement comes exactly 30 years after space shuttle Columbia first took orbit on April 12, 1981.  Columbia and Challenger -- two of the five space shuttles that took orbit -- were lost in flight.

In all, the orbiters will have a flown a total of 135 missions once the program comes to an end later this year.  Two more missions remain.

Tuesday also marks the 50th anniversary of the first human to be rocketed into space -- Russian Yuri Gagarin.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Space Shuttle Discovery Heading Back to Earth

NASA(HOUSTON) -- Space shuttle Discovery's final flight is about to reach its conclusion.

On Wednesday, the shuttle with the most missions of any other craft in the fleet is due to arrive back at Florida's Kennedy Space Center just before noon.  Once Discovery lands, it will eventually head to a museum.

Before leaving the International Space Station Tuesday, astronauts declared the shuttle was fit for return after finding no problems with the heat shield.

Discovery's final mission was actually extended from 11 days to 13 so that the Discovery crew could make some needed repairs and provide an extra room on the ISS.

Back on Earth, NASA's pre-flight mission management team chairman, LeRoy Cain, praised the crew, saying, "The entire space shuttle system just performed outstanding on this entire mission."

Discovery has flown the equivalent of 365 days during its 27-year career, spanning some 150 million miles.

Space shuttle Endeavour is due to launch on April 19, while Atlantis will fly the last shuttle mission on June 28.  From that point on, astronauts who want to go to and from the ISS will need to ride Russia's Soyuz space capsules.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Space Shuttle Discovery Astronauts to Go on Spacewalk

Part of the crew aboard space shuttle Discovery. Photo Courtesy - NASA(HOUSTON) -- Two astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery will venture outside of the International Space Station Monday morning to go on a spacewalk.

Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew will embark on the 6.5-hour spacewalk at 11:18 a.m. ET to perform several tasks, including installing a power extension cable, moving a broken ammonia pump, and installing a camera wedge.  Both astronauts prepped for the assignment by "camping out" the night before in the Quest airlock, where the atmospheric pressure is lowered to help protect them from "the bends," or decompression sickness, once they are out in space.

Discovery docked with the International Space Station on Saturday, where it will remain for a week before returning back to Earth.

The space shuttle's latest flight will be its last one -- it is set to retire after its current mission is over.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Space Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off for Final Voyage

Photo Courtesy - NASA(HOUSTON) -- A crew of six veteran astronauts and one rookie robot blasted off from Earth aboard the space shuttle Discovery as it left on its final mission. Record crowds were on hand Thursday at Cape Canaveral, Fla., to witness Discovery's final flight, lowering the curtain on the space shuttle era.

Discovery is the most traveled spacecraft in history, beaming back spectacular imagery from the final frontier. The crew will rendezvous with the International Space Station on its 11-day mission.

Steve Lindsay, the commander of the Discovery mission, said he is "always struck" by how "powerful and beautiful" space is. "It is just overwhelming, that is the way it feels to me."

When Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot a shuttle -- it was aboard the Discovery. And from Discovery, Dr. Bernard Harris became the first African-American to walk in space.

At the Johnson Space Center in Houston, flight director Richard Jones looked back on the shuttle's career. It is a poignant time for the space agency -- the shuttle program is ending after 30 years. Jones said he is proud to be a part of Discovery's last flight.

"What I will look back on is that this mission was just one of many, many accomplishments and it was part of the shuttle era," Jones said.

Discovery's voyage will take it to the International Space Station, where it will add another module for storage and experiments, an exterior experiment platform and a robot -- the first humanoid robot in space -- to work inside the space station. Two spacewalks are scheduled for maintenance work.

It is the first space flight for the $2 million Robonaut, known as R2, which is tasked with showing how dexterous robots behave in space. The robot is made of aluminum, weighs 330 pounds, and is 3 feet 4 inches tall. To document its work, R2 will be tweeting at @AstroRobonaut.

When Discovery docks to the space station, the combined weight of the two spacecraft will equal one million points -- a space first.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Delays: NASA Says No Discovery Launch Before Feb. 3

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto | NASA(WASHINGTON) -- After a series of delays, managers at NASA have set a new target launch date for the Discovery space shuttle of no earlier than Feb. 3 at 1:34 a.m. ET.  Managers say that more tests are needed before Discovery's launch to the International Space Station.

The Program Requirements Control Board met Thursday to review the integrity of repairs made to cracks found on the shuttle's external tank.  Managers then determined that more instrument tests were necessary concerning the external fuel tank.
Shuttle engineers plan to continue searching for the root cause of the cracks that were found. 

Officials say that only after careful review and analysis of data from the tests will they set an official launch date.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Shuttle Discovery Suffers New Setback

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- NASA engineers keep making grim discoveries as they examine the shuttle Discovery.

The spacecraft, which was supposed to have launched Nov. 5 on the shuttle program’s penultimate mission, was grounded because of a hydrogen leak and cracks on the external fuel tank.

On Monday, NASA engineers found a fourth crack about three inches long on a section between the inside liquid oxygen tank and the liquid hydrogen tanks.

Discovery will stay on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida until all the repairs are made, but time is of the essence.  There’s a launch window that runs between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6.  If NASA misses that, it’s likely Discovery won’t make its last mission to the International Space Center.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


NASA Scrubs Discovery Launch Again over Leak

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.) -- UPDATE: NASA has yet again scrubbed the launch of space shuttle Discovery -- this time over a hydrogen leak mission managers now call "significant," as well as unfavorable launch weather.  The shuttle won't leave the pad until at least November 30th.  The current launch window closes Monday and NASA doesn't want to rush the solution to the leak.

The shuttle was scheduled to launch at 3:04 p.m. ET Friday.  The leak, along with a chance of gusty winds at the time of the launch, forced the space agency to scrap its mission.

Discovery's launch has already been pushed back several times since Monday.

This will be Discovery's last mission.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Human Hearts Found in Jars in Calif. Cemetery

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/KGO-TV San Francisco(COLMA, Calif.) -- A cemetery worker in Colma, Calif., has discovered two plastic jars containing human hearts half buried in a remote section of the town's massive cemetery, according to police.

The jars found at Colma's Holy Cross Cemetery had photos of young couples taped to them, police said. Once the maintenance employee discovered the jars, he immediately called the Colma police.

After examining the hearts, the San Mateo County Coroner's Office ruled out any sort of foul play in the incident.

Colma Police Commander John Read told ABC News that investigators are looking at some leads from the pictures, but wouldn't say if the investigation is identifying the individuals. He says the hearts may have been stolen from a mortuary.

Though police said they now believe that the hearts came from cadavers, none of the graves in the cemetery were disturbed, nor have there been reports of theft from medical schools.

Police said investigators found partially smoked cigars and candles at the scene next to where the bottles were buried, which has led them and experts to believe that this is part of some sort of religious ritual.

The town of Colma has approximately 1,500 residents, but more than 1.5 million people are buried in the cemetery, leading Colma to be dubbed the City of the Dead.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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