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NASA Shuttle Missions after the Columbia Disaster - Term Paper Example

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"NASA Shuttle Missions after the Columbia Disaster" paper argues that since the tragedy, NASA improved safety measures and is vigorously continuing with upgrades and the upkeep of 2 projects that, at more than one time, seemed to be doomed to abandonment, the Space Station and the Hubble telescope…
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NASA Shuttle Missions after the Columbia Disaster
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Download file to see previous pages Shuttle crewmembers experimented with engineering conceptions, safety systems, and the ship’s robotic arm to determine if it could be utilized.  The Discovery STS 121 delivered an astronaut to the space station which returned its crew number to three.  The last two, Atlantis STS 115 and Discovery 116 made repairs to the Space Station most notably by addressing its structural integrity and electrical system including the replacing of a large solar panel. These latest four missions have laid the groundwork for a safer shuttle program and have significantly increased the Space Station’s capacity to conduct research.

The Discovery STS-114 launched on July 26, 2005, for a 14-day mission. It was the momentous first shuttle flight following the Columbia catastrophe. The mission, dubbed by NASA as the ‘Return to Flight,’ delivered scientific equipment and supplies to the Space Station and prepared it for future structural work. The focus of great attention by NASA and the public during STS 114’s mission was on the self-repair techniques designed to avert another disaster. The crew walked in space on three occasions including the first-ever in-flight repair of a shuttle (Malik, 2005). The crew tested two repair procedures, one designed to replace heat-resistant tiles that sustained damage due to impact, such as what occurred on the Columbia and the second to repair small cracks and holes on the shuttle’s exterior. The wings of Columbia were hit by foam fragments that had dislodged during launch from the shuttle’s external fuel tank  Heat-resistant tiles on the wings were broken off or damaged from the foam debris causing the fated shuttle to explode as it re-entered the atmosphere. The Discovery’s principal payload included tons of supplies and equipment shipped to the Space Station including a “refurbished control moment gyroscope to replace one that failed earlier aboard the space station; a tool kit and spare parts module that (was) mounted on the station’s airlock to enable future assembly work; and a pressurized logistics module loaded with space station equipment and supplies” (Harwood, 2005).   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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