Archive - Sep 2, 2008
NASA is taking a look at what might be required to postpone the retirement of its three space shuttles until their Orion capsule replacement begins operational flight in 2015, but only as a preparatory measure for Congress and the incoming president, agency officials said Friday.
The study, called for by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, is aimed at preparing for inquiries on how the agency intends to fill the gap between the shuttle fleet's retirement in 2010 and the first flights of Orion, said John Yembrick, a spokesperson for spaceflight operations at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
An unmanned Russian-built cargo ship is headed for oblivion after casting off from the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.
The automated space tug Progress 29 undocked from an Earth-facing berth on the station's Russian Zarya control module Monday afternoon at 3:46 p.m. EDT (1946 GMT) to begin a week of engine tests before destroying itself in the Earth's atmosphere next week, officials with Russia's Federal Space Agency said.
"It went very well, exactly as planned," NASA spokesperson Kelly Humphries told SPACE.com from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Federal Space Agency officials said Progress 29 will stay in space until Sept. 9 in order to perform a series of experiments designed to study the plasma environment surrounding its rocket engines. Then, the disposable spacecraft will be commanded to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere over the southern Pacific Ocean, they added.
NASA is holding off on moving the space shuttle Atlantis to its Florida launch pad this week to ensure it is not threatened by Tropical Storm Hanna, the agency said Tuesday.
While the shuttle could make the 3-mile (4.8-km) trek to the seaside launch pad as early as Thursday, it's more likely to move on Saturday after Hanna has passed, said NASA spokesperson Allard Beutel of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
"We're watching and protecting our options," Beutel told SPACE.com. "I think we're all pretty much figuring it will be Saturday."
Shuttle workers at KSC had initially planned to move Atlantis to Launch Pad 39A early Monday but held off a day to monitor Hanna, which as of Tuesday had weakened back to a tropical storm after reaching hurricane status over the weekend. NASA hoped to attempt the shuttle move early Wednesday, but later shifted to no earlier than Thursday at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) with Saturday a more likely target.