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Shuttle Endeavour landing in Florida  (Source: NASA TV)
Gouge and all, shuttle Endeavour today landed safely in Florida

NASA's shuttle Endeavour today safely landed at the Kennedy Space Center, ending a chaotic 13-day mission in space.  The shuttle's crew continued working on repairs and general construction on the International Space Station (ISS), replaced a gyroscope and delivered food and other supplies to the crew aboard the ISS.

The shuttle touched down at 12:32 p.m. EDT -- one day earlier than expected.  Originally scheduled to land tomorrow afternoon, the direction and severity of Hurricane Dean worried NASA that the Houston space control center would have to be evacuated.  After Hurricane Dean turned directions – now battering the coast of Mexico – NASA decided to land the shuttle.

After deciding not to conduct a space walk to try and fix a gouge on the underside of the shuttle, there was initial fear that the shuttle would not be able to safely land back on Earth.  Although NASA admitted re-entry before landing always is hazardous, flight managers vehemently said there was "zero chance" of an incident similar to the shuttle Columbia disaster.

"Congratulations. Welcome home. You've given a new meaning to higher education," Mission Control told the Endeavour crew after landing.

Drama involving Endeavour started before the shuttle even lifted off, as a former NASA contractor apparently tried to sabotage a computer that flew aboard the shuttle to the ISS.

With two manned shuttle launches completed in 2007, NASA still has two left.



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Congrats to the Endeavour team
By jarman on 8/21/2007 2:23:25 PM , Rating: 3
The unsung hero of the shuttle program are the guys that are buried in the labs late into night working problems like this gash in the shuttle's tiles. Kudos on delivering a safe return home for the crew of the Endeavour!




RE: Congrats to the Endeavour team
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2007 2:38:45 PM , Rating: 4
Yup. I love our space program. I sacrificed a potential higher paying internship at GE to work out at KSC for a summer. Was awesome.

Been to about 6-7 launches out at the strip of land between the space center and the air force base and 1 landing at the landing strip(press and family only).


RE: Congrats to the Endeavour team
By omnicronx on 8/21/2007 3:09:36 PM , Rating: 3
FITCamaro, someone hates you, you get rated down for no reason in every thread haha.

As for the space program, They did a great job here. I wonder though, they never said if this was going to delay the next shuttle launch.


RE: Congrats to the Endeavour team
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/21/2007 3:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
It shouldn't. They use different shuttles each time, this will give them the time to repair the Endeavor while the other one is being preped for launch.


RE: Congrats to the Endeavour team
By Spotacus on 8/21/2007 3:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
Except they have been saying that they wouldn't launch again until they have figured out how to keep stuff from falling off the brackets and hitting the shuttle. No idea how long that will take or if they will actually follow through.

Hopefully it doesn't delay the next launch in October.


RE: Congrats to the Endeavour team
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/21/2007 3:52:03 PM , Rating: 3
Saran Wrap :)


By FITCamaro on 8/21/2007 4:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
No. Everyone knows the most durable, structurally sound material in the universe is tin foil wrapped in duck tape.


By twajetmech on 8/21/2007 4:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
They will be repacing the bracket with one made from titanium, which is less prone to ice build up.


By FITCamaro on 8/21/2007 3:23:04 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
FITCamaro, someone hates you, you get rated down for no reason in every thread haha.


Trolls gotta hate someone. Might as well be me. I'm a big boy. Can handle it.

If this was Toms Hardware it'd be the admins since I've pissed them off so much asking for simple things like proof reading their articles so they at least look like competent journalists instead of 3rd graders. Their reply "Speed is more important. We can edit mistakes later." No, I'm not joking.


shame on you
By JosefTor on 8/21/2007 7:12:15 PM , Rating: 2
I do thank the hard work and late calculations done to ensure the safety of the shuttle by engineers but... (being an nuclear engineer myself) I think it was completely irresponsible to not perform the fix in space. There is no way to determine that there is a zero percent chance of Columbia happening again. Even if there was no gouge at all, it would be impossible to determine a 100% success rate. Why develop a fix if you will not use it? Why endanger a crew and space shuttle? Columbia happened in the first place because the engineers got complacent and that is exactly what happened here this time. Heaven forbid something happened to this crew that put all their faith into NASA. It might of woken up NASA if something did happen though that their ethics are not where they should be.
-Joe




RE: shame on you
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2007 8:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
Because the spacewalk to fix the problem is also risky.

There's also the issue of if they try to fix it, they could potentially make it worse.


Shuttle Endeavour Gouge
By eric63 on 8/23/2007 2:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
When will NASA release an "after" picture of the 3x3 in gouge on Endeavour for us to compare to "before" picture they already released?




It's ramping up again.
By lompocus on 8/21/2007 9:35:25 PM , Rating: 1
Yay! After a period between mid-80s and early 00s, then another after challenger, it seems like people are finally coming to their senses and not blaming NASA for all our woes and angst.

So, can I hope to see 8 launches next year?




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