Repair tests crucial to survival of space shuttle program

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch this Saturday, July 1, for a 12-day mission, with a primary mission of testing methods of repairing the shuttle while in orbit. The director of the astronomy lab program at the University of North Texas says these repair tests are crucial for NASA to keep the shuttle program alive.

Discovery's mission will be the second Return to Flight Testing mission after the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all seven crew members. Foam falling from the fuel tank damaged the Columbia's wing, leading to the vehicle's disintegration as it tried to land.

Ron DiIulio, a NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador as well as the director of UNT's astronomy lab program, says NASA has made a few modifications to the foam on the Discovery's external fuel tank since its last mission in July 2005 - the first of the Return to Flight testing missions marking NASA's return to space. DiIulio says, however, that some NASA administrators "have raised a few questions."

DiIulio says use of the shuttles is critical to both complete the International Space Station and to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Safe, consistent operation of the shuttle program is integral to both missions, he says.

"(The Russian) Soyuz equipment doesn't have the payload capability of the shuttle fleet," he says. "The shuttle is basically our truck into outer space. It's needed to do the hauling and heavy lifting of equipment, because there's nothing out there to replace it in the short term."

In addition to testing methods of repairing the shuttle, the Discovery crew will visit the International Space Station during its mission, delivering supplies and a German astronaut, who will join the Russian station commander and an American astronaut on the station.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

Category:

Latest News

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When Josh Gordesky learned that the UNT College of Information would be offering its doctoral degree program in learning technologies mostly online, he knew it was the right academic program for him.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Children in grades 8 through 12 can now register for summer camps in the University of North Texas College of Engineering, focusing on robotics, video and computer game development, mobile applications and computer science and engineering.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Katie Koestner, a date rape survivor, will speak at the University of North Texas as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities. The speech will take place at 7 p.m. on April 22 (Tuesday) in the Volleyball Gym located at 1536 S. Bonnie Brae, Building H, Denton.

Six-year old Ryan Lingo relaxes with his mother, Lucia Lingo, at Easter Seals No
Monday, April 21, 2014

Yummy Starts, a healthy eating program geared for kids with autism spectrum disorder, is helping kids with extreme selective eating habits. It's one of four behavioral intervention services offered at the Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program, a collaboration between the University of North Texas Department of Behavior Analysis and Easter Seals.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Students of the late painting professor Rob Erdle, regents professor emeritus at UNT, plan to celebrate his life by displaying his work alongside their own.