Space Shuttle Discovery To Launch, 5th April 2010

McZiderRed

Champion Elect
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I wasn't going to start an article about this, but I was inspired to, by the BBC's program "The Wonders of the Solar System".
Great program, that! :D

As far as we know, we are the only planet which sustains life. There may be a plethora of planets up there that could be literally teeming with life. They are most likely micro-organisms, however, we haven't discovered any of the little chaps... :dunno:

So, the simple fact that not only are we here, we have also evolved far enough that we can actually leave the planet that we have originated from, albeit fleetingly.... is amazing!

Therefore, I'm bringing to your attention that NASA are, yet again, launching a Space Shuttle*. The launch is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday the 5th of April, at 11:21 BST.

BBC article

Watch the launch on NASA TV


*There are only three shuttle launches after this one.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
We just watched the same program :)

I've got an interesting book somewhere, I think by Isaav Asimov which is all about the possibility of life on another planet using figures and probabilities, etc.
I'll have to try and locate it.
 

McZiderRed

Champion Elect
Supporter
According to NASA TV, when the payload bay doors on Discovery were opened the Ku-Band Antennae failed it's self-test. The Ku-Band Antennae is the means for communicating, amongst other things, video and emails. Therefore, the mission is slightly compromised as, for example, the video of the shuttle's heat shield cannot be downloaded for viewing. The only communication possible, other than things like still photos, is audio.

EDIT: Also, although there is footage of mission control, I presume this is why there is no live coverage of the shuttle in orbit
at the moment!
:no:

However, once the shuttle has docked with the ISS, the video of the shuttle can be downloaded for review, along with other communication that's required. Of course, this could cut into the mission timetable, so it will impact on normal communication, although apparently the safety of the shuttle is not impeded... :unsure:

Other tests on the Ku-Band Antennae are probably gonna happen, once docked with the ISS. :dunno:
 

McZiderRed

Champion Elect
Supporter
Now that Discovery has docked with the ISS, there is a video link and data is being downloaded.

As well as video that's quite entertaining to us simpletons, there is also some important stuff that needs to be downloaded; e.g. video of the wing leading edge. Stuff that kinda needs to be viewed before re-entry. One problem that they're working on right now, is that they didn't anticipate the slow network rate, once they moved the shuttle hard-drive onto the ISS to download the data...

The other minor hitch caused by the Ku-band antennae issue, is that NASA cannot view a check that's normally done, after undocking from the ISS, prior to re-entry. Actually, that is a major problem, but they will do the check prior to undocking, whilst the KU uplink is still connected...

It might be prudent to keep an eye on the news channels over the next few weeks, as the re-entry of the shuttle might be "interesting". :blink:
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Thanks for the update McZ :thumbsup:

"One problem that they're working on right now, is that they didn't anticipate the slow network rate, once they moved the shuttle hard-drive onto the ISS to download the data..."

Don't tell me they're still using 56KB modems on the ISS :D
 
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