Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Space shuttle Discoery to land today. good weather expected

Space shuttle Discovery to land today, good weather expected

CAPE CANAVERAL: Forecasters expect good weather on Wednesday for the landing of the space shuttle Discovery after a 15-day trip to the International Space Station, NASA has said.

The first landing attempt is slated for 1.02 pm (2332 IST) at the National Aeronautic and Space Administration's Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

NASA officials said on Tuesday that inspections of Discovery showed no damage to the spacecraft's crucial insulation that could endanger the ship and the seven astronauts aboard during its descent.

The astronauts inspected the thermal skin of the craft for damage from micro-meteorites or other objects using a high-definition camera and a scanner attached on the end of a robotic arm operated from inside the cabin.

Discovery pulled away from the ISS early on Monday after an 11-day stay continuing the effort to expand the space station and to add to its power-generating solar arrays.

The mission required a risky, unplanned spacewalk to repair damage done to two solar arrays when they were unfurled on wings far out from the station.

The mission also saw the Discovery astronauts delivering the Italian-built Harmony module, which will connect US, European and Japanese science labs on the ISS.

Their work clears the way in coming months for the installation of the European Columbus science lab in the next shuttle mission on December 6 and the Japanese Kibo lab, due to be delivered in early 2008.


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