Shuttle News: February 2011 Archives

First Photo: Shuttle Discovery's Trail Into Space As Seen from Over 70,000 Feet in a Balloon

"This photo was taken from an an altitude of over 70,000 feet (still being determined exactly) at 5:20 pm EST on 24 February 2011. The camera used was the lowest resolution camera on board the Robonaut-1 balloon - a Motorola Droid X smartphone. You can see the plume left by Space Shuttle Discovery as it headed into space. We will be releasing more images of greater resolution and HD video very soon - all of which show Discovery heading into space. Photo credit (mandatory) Quest for Space/Challenger Center."

Keith's update: We've added a video still taken by a GoPro Hero Motorsport that clearly shows Discovery arcing into orbit. The video (we'll post it soon) clearly shows the Discovery climbing into space.

STS-133Discovery Poised to Liftoff, SpaceRef

"NASA is poised to launch space shuttle Discovery on her last mission this Thursday at 4:50 p.m. EST. It seems with all recent attempts to get Discovery launched, NASA is working one minor leak issue. However the issue should not cause any delay."

NASA chief Bolden makes call on where shuttles will stay, Florida Today

"[Bolden] said he planned to formally announce "within the next few weeks, if not days" that KSC will be the home of the NASA office that oversees the development and operation of commercial space taxis. NASA's primary launch operations site never has hosted a human spaceflight project office. That work historically has been done at Johnson Space Center in Houston or NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and during Project Mercury, at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va."

$14M to move shuttle to Air Force museum tucked in Obama budget plan, Dayton Daily News

"The Obama administration asked Congress for $14 million to transfer the space shuttle Atlantis to the Air Force Museum here, a strong sign the Dayton region may land one of three orbiters when they are retired this summer. Although NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will make the final decision on where to locate Atlantis, the request -- tucked deep inside the administration's 2012 budget -- suggests that the White House and the Air Force favor the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force as a final destination for Atlantis."

Boeing Announces $5M Donation to Air Force Museum Foundation

"The Boeing Company announced today that it will donate $5 million to the Air Force Museum Foundation in three installments over the next three years. The foundation will deliver the funds to the U.S. Air Force for the benefit of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio."

Gabrielle Giffords's husband Mark Kelly will command final shuttle flight, Politico

"Mark Kelly, husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will fly the space shuttle Endeavour's final mission in April, according to a source familiar with the decision."

NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly Resumes Training For STS-134 Mission

"NASA astronaut Mark Kelly will resume training as commander of the STS-134 space shuttle mission on Monday, Feb. 7. With the exception of some proficiency training, Kelly has been on personal leave since Jan. 8 to care for his wife, congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in a Tucson, Ariz. shooting."

Obama calls his Christian faith 'a sustaining force' in prayer breakfast speech, Washington Post

"NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), seriously injured during the Tucson shooting rampage last month, also spoke briefly at the breakfast and gave the closing prayer."

New USA Layoffs

Usa Informs Employees Of Layoff, Florida Today

"United Space Alliance by Friday will notify 548 Kennedy Space Center employees that they will be laid off on April 8. Some 697 USA employees companywide will be laid off, including 145 in Houston and four in Huntsville, Ala."

NASA weighs plan to keep space shuttle until 2017, MSNBC

"NASA is considering a plan to keep the space shuttle Endeavour in flight-like condition after its last scheduled mission, a move that could lead to its transformation into a privatized spaceship rather than a museum piece."

Keith's note: The author has jumped the gun on this and provides a false impression with regard to levela nd nature of any internal sentiment about not rushing to retire the shuttle fleet. This is only a study - if it is done. As such there is no "plan" to "consider". NASA is not "considering" or "weighing" anything other than whether or not they want to pay someone to do a study that challenges a decision the agency has already committed to. NASA is planning to retire the shuttle and has always preserved an option to keep one or more shuttles in good (flight) shape for tests, documentation, etc. before handing them off to museums. If the study is done it will almost certainly use several earlier NASA shuttle commercialization studies from the 80's and 90's that looked at similar things.

Indeed, if the study is done, it will likely be delivered after the last shuttle flight when the retirement process has formally begun. The parts and contracts needed to fly the shuttle are already going away and cannot be kept in place forever. To do so costs more money and this core of this notion is reducing costs. The only possible logic to such a proposal would be if the shuttle sidemount HLV was approved. Alas, NASA made certain to surgically scrub any mention of it from what it has presented to the White House and Congress.

Names for seven craters in the Apollo basin on the Moon have been provisionally approved by the International Astronomical Union to honor the seven Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts. The names can be seen in the list of lunar crater names in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. The names are: Husband, McCool, Chawla, L. Clark, M. Anderson, D. Brown, Ramon. Note that first initials have been used for Anderson, Brown, and Clark to distingiush them from other crater names on the Moon which honor persons with the same surnames. [Larger image] (source: USGS Astrogeology Center)

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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from February 2011.

Shuttle News: January 2011 is the previous archive.

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