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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Debris detected on Discovery launch

Let's hope this turns out to be nothing:

Space Shuttle Discovery's launch:

...Two chase planes and more than 100 cameras documented the ascent from every possible angle to capture any sign of flying debris of the sort that doomed the last flight.

Some two hours later, after Discovery had settled into orbit, Discovery commander Eileen Collins radioed back: "We know that the folks back on the planet Earth are just feeling great right now, and our thanks to everybody for all the super work that's been done over the past 2 1/2 years to get us flying again."

Mission Control replied by promising to bring the astronauts home safely.

Video showed what appeared to be a large piece of debris flying off the external fuel tank two minutes into the flight. The object did not seem to hit the orbiter. Footage also showed what might have been at least two light-colored objects flying off Discovery as the shuttle cleared the launch pad.

Deputy shuttle program manager Wayne Hale raised the possibility that the light-colored objects were harmless pieces of paper that protect Discovery's thrusters before launch. But he insisted it was too soon to say what the cameras may have picked up, and he gave assurances the multitude of images will be examined frame by frame in the coming hours and days... Yahoo News

Let's hope Hale's "harmless pieces of paper" were indeed all the "debris" was. No one wants another Columbia.

Crossposted at Balanced News Blog and Cathouse Chat