22 December 2006

5,300,000 Frequent Flier Miles...?

I just watched this live on CNN. Amazing! They landed at the exact time scheduled, why can't the airlines accomplish that?


Space Shuttle Returns To Florida
Space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew have landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Shuttle managers decided conditions in Florida were good enough to bring the shuttle home at 1732 (2232 GMT), after days of uncertainty about the weather.

Discovery needed to be on the ground on Saturday or it would have run low on fuel that powers electrical systems.

The shuttle has been on a 13-day mission to rewire the International Space Station (ISS).

In addition, its crew fitted a connecting segment that will allow the platform's backbone to be extended further in future.

They also delivered two tonnes of supplies and dropped off one new resident, American Sunita Williams, and picked up a returning astronaut, German Thomas Reiter.

Future flights

The shuttle would normally have had more time to make a landing but its astronauts made an unscheduled, extra spacewalk at the station to free a stuck solar array.

The next construction mission to the ISS will be undertaken by the Atlantis shuttle in March. This will see a third set of solar arrays and batteries fitted to the station.

May should see the maiden flight of a new re-supply vessel for the station.

Known as the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), it will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from the European spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana.

Europe also has keen interest in Discovery's next mission scheduled for October.

This mission will deliver the Columbus science module, Europe's biggest contribution to the ISS project.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/22 22:41:17 GMT



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