Comprehensive coverage

Two years after Columbia, the sky is clearing for NASA

The atmosphere of doom that surrounded NASA in the two years since the shuttle crash has given way to excitement: two new technological components indicate more than anything that the resumption of manned flights into space is near. "We will never forget, but when we have such tools in our hands, it restores our enthusiasm and pride, and focuses us on the future. We do it for our friends. This is what they would like us to do"

Two years after the disaster of the Columbia space shuttle crash, NASA is currently surrounded by excitement for the upcoming resumption of manned flights into space, and it is taking the place of the doom and gloom that has hung over the space agency since the accident.
The source of the excitement seems seemingly mundane. The arrival of two technological components. But in the eyes of the engineering team, the latest shipment is tangible evidence that the resumption of flights is "just around the corner".
The first component is a special test tool, which will allow engineers to perform laser tests of the shuttle body and its heat shields while in orbit around the Earth. The second component is a state-of-the-art fuel tank specially developed to reduce the chance of damage to the shuttle's body as a result of the separation of pieces of insulation from its outer protective coating. Both components are direct lessons from the conclusions of the commission of inquiry established after the disaster of the crash on February 1, 2003.
"It is appropriate and important that the two most important items that will ensure the return of the space shuttles to regular flights have arrived at the Kennedy Space Center exactly when the two years since the disaster are being marked," the employees said. "We will never forget, but when we have tools like this in our hands, it gives us enthusiasm and pride, and focuses us in looking to the future," said one of the managers of the shuttle program, David Schubert.
The first space shuttle flight after the Columbia disaster is planned for this May. The shuttle Discovery is expected to fly two crew members to the International Space Station and also deliver technical equipment and supplies that are urgently needed there. Only recently did supply levels on board the station drop to the "red line" for a few days, and the Russian space agency rushed to urgently launch a supply spacecraft to the station.
For many at NASA, the upcoming launch is much more than a routine mission. "We want to do this in memory of our friends," said Stanley Coleman, one of the agency's directors. "We do it for them. This is what they would like us to do. They knew the risks. If things were the other way around, they would do it for us."
NASA is confident that after two years of comprehensive testing and redesign of shuttle components, the faults that caused Columbia's crash will not change.
Last time, ice that accumulated on the fuel tank caused damage to the protective cover that surrounds it. During the launch, the hardened protective foam broke off and hit the shuttle's wing. The impact caused several insulation tiles to detach from the wing.
The tiles are designed to protect the shuttle's body from overheating as a result of the high friction created when the shuttle re-enters the atmosphere on the way home. As long as the shuttle was in space, the damage was of no particular significance. As the shuttle began to enter the atmosphere, the part of the wing that was left without a protective coating overheated and melted. The fire burned the wing and caused it to collapse.
The shuttle is supposed to enter the atmosphere at a precise and measured angle. The collapse of the wing caused the shuttle to deviate from its course and disintegrate only 16 minutes before its intended landing on the ground.
Discovery's commander, Eileen Collins, sounded confident: "If it wasn't safe, I wouldn't have boarded the vessel," she said. "Unlike the Columbia team, we have a lot of tools that work in our favor," said her deputy, co-pilot James Kelly. "When you're on an aircraft, whether it's an airplane or a space shuttle, when you know what the condition of your vehicle is, you can make the necessary decisions," he said.

The second anniversary of the death of Col. Ilan Ramon was marked * NASA is recovering
Wednesday, February 2, 2005

At the memorial ceremony, which took place in the Nehalel cemetery, the Minister of Defense, the US Ambassador to Israel and a representative from the space agency NASA were present. As part of the anniversary of his death, a conference was held to encourage and develop leadership among the future generation

On Tuesday, 1/2/2005, the second anniversary of the death of Col. Ilan Ramon, in the crash of the space shuttle "Columbia", was marked in a memorial service held at the Nehalel cemetery, where Ramon is buried.

In Kibbutz Yifat a conference was held entitled - "Celebrating the character of Ilan Ramon as a leader and trailblazer". In addition to the family members, the Minister of Defense, Shaul Mofaz, the American Ambassador, Dan Kartzer, the Commander of the Air Force, Major General Eliezer Shakdi, and the representative of NASA - the astronaut Dr. Mike Massamino, also participated in the conference.

According to the organizers, "the conference is a first milestone in building a plan to encourage and develop leadership and excellence among the future generation."

Leave a Reply

Email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismat to prevent spam messages. Click here to learn how your response data is processed.