Shuttle News: October 2007 Archives

STS-120 On-Orbit

NASA's Shuttle Discovery Begins Mission to the Space Station

"The space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew lifted off Tuesday, Oct. 23, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:38 a.m. EDT to continue construction of the International Space Station. During the 14-day mission, designated STS-120, Discovery's crew will continue construction of the space station with the installation of the Harmony connecting module, also known as Node 2. The crew, led by Commander Pam Melroy, will conduct five spacewalks during the mission, four by shuttle crew members and one by the station's Expedition 16 crew."

An Arduous, Risky Mission, editorial, NY Times

"After vigorous debate at an all-day review, however, NASAs top managers concluded that the risk was acceptable. Should the panels defects worsen during flight, the astronauts could attempt a repair in space or board the space station to await rescue by another shuttle. The astronauts, who were fully informed of the debate, endorsed the decision to launch. Well keep our fingers crossed that these judgments prove right. Another shuttle catastrophe would not only cost the lives of astronauts, it would also probably end the shuttle program and greatly delay completion of the space station."

STS-120 Preps Continue

NASA counting down to Tuesday's shuttle launch, SpaceflightNow

"NASA's shuttle launch team started Discovery's countdown today for a launch attempt Tuesday on what many consider the most challenging space station assembly mission yet attempted. Forecasters are predicting a 60 percent chance of good weather. The countdown began on time at 2 p.m. NASA Test Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said earlier today there were no technical issues of any significance at launch pad 39A."

More ISS and Shuttle News

STS-120 Go for 23 October

NASA Gives "Go" for Space Shuttle Launch on Oct. 23

"NASA senior managers Tuesday completed a detailed review of space shuttle Discovery's readiness for flight and selected Oct. 23 as the official launch date.

Commander Pam Melroy and her six crewmates are scheduled to lift off at 11:38 a.m. EDT on the STS-120 mission to the International Space Station."

TPS Issues With Discovery

NASA Studies Problem With Shuttle Wings, AP

"NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said the outer coating on three of the wing panels shows degradation, an issue that the NASA Engineering and Safety Center has been reviewing for the past several months. The safety center recommended Wednesday that the three panels be replaced before Discovery flies. But the shuttle program is leaning toward leaving them alone, for now, and proceeding with the launch based on data from other engineers, Beutel said."

The Gap Looms

Thousands Of NASA Jobs In Jeopardy, Channel 13

"In just three years, NASA plans to shut down its manned spaceflight operations until the new constellation program comes on-line around 2014. That could put 4,000 jobs at the Kennedy Space Center in jeopardy. Indirectly, 15,000 jobs could be lost, thanks to a slump in the Brevard County economy."

NASA JSC solicitation: Hotel and Conference Facilities for Space Flight Awareness Program STS-122 Event

"This notice is being issued as a Request for Quotations (RFQ) for Hotel and Conference/Banquet Facilities for the Space Flight Awareness (SFA) Program STS-122 Event. NASA's Space Flight Awareness Launch Honoree Award is our most prestigious recognition and honors those employees who contribute to ensuring astronaut safety and mission success. The award is presented to approximately 300 NASA civil servants, NASA contractors and international space agency employees. These employees are rewarded with a visit to the Kennedy Space Center as NASA VIPs. The honorees have the opportunity to view a shuttle launch, attend a reception/dinner in their honor, and meet with top NASA, industry and international space agency officials as well as members of the Astronaut Corps."

Editor's note: If NASA and its employees really wanted to relay the importance and experience of space travel - imagine what impact could be generated on America's educational system if you invited 300 teachers - or 300 students - to a launch - at Government expense. I am very familiar with how awardees are selected at NASA having once been a NASA employee myself. While many honorees have indeed worked very hard to get an award, it is usually a matter of managers looking around to see who hasn't been to a launch yet (or for a while). These shuttle launches are a dwindling commodity - one that will be followed by "The Gap" where no humans leave Earth from American soil. As such, NASA should use these remaining opportunities wisely - for maximum effect and value.

Reader note: Without SFA we would have no path to award great employee performance at this level. SFA is a very unique program and management has worked hard to focus events on employees and not parties and trinkets. While I cannot make apologies for the whole of NASA, I know that SOMD has sponsored folks like our video and pennant winners to launches. SOMD is also sponsoring the Node naming contest winner as well. Employee recognition is critical during this transition timeframe. Some of us would rather do more recognition. Many folks believe just as you have portrayed - it is a frivolous party expense. I have seen management fight to save it from budget cuts while keeping the focus on the employee. This is a consistent theme of the entire NASA-Industry advisory board. One of the reasons for the busses particularly is that fact that we have to house folks in Orlando. The cruise business has killed us in Cocoa Beach.



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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from October 2007.

Shuttle News: September 2007 is the previous archive.

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