"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."
Monday, August 08, 2005
"We are going to officially wave you off for 24 hours," shuttle communicator Ken Ham told Eileen Collins, commander of Discovery. The shuttle crew are unlikely to be disappointed, said astronaut Mark Polanski, in Florida to watch the landing: "A bad day in space is better than any day on Earth."
It looks like a little rain and a low level cloud are preventing the Discovery crew from landing back on Earth. Already nervous over the foam incident, this delay could give the crew another day to relax before re-entering Earth's tenacious atmosphere.
In theory the shuttle could remain in space until Wednesday, but NASA will be extremely reluctant to leave the shuttle in orbit until then, as it would then be forced to land whatever the weather. It is therefore all but certain that Discovery will land in Tuesday.
Following the Columbia tragedy the last thing NASA wants is to land a shuttle in the midst of a storm. Another shuttle disaster would be a huge setback towards the agency, which would probably result in the forced retirement of all space shuttle craft which are due to expire in 2010. NASA can ill-afford such an event, as that would not only set back the private sector (as far as potential clients as well as stricter governmental regulations) but also officially drop America out of the space race.
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