Space Foundation hails heroic shuttle mission, urges NASA to keep the dream alive
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.(Aug. 9, 2005) -- The Space Foundation today offered congratulations to Space Shuttle Discovery's crew, NASA, and the entire shuttle team on a successful launch, mission, and landing. Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot James Kelly, and Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi, Stephen Robinson, Andrew Thomas, Wendy Lawrence, and Charles Camarda returned safely to Earth early this morning after an inspiring return to flight mission. "As with every human space mission, Discovery's journey and spectacular successes have increased our knowledge of living and working in space, preparing us for a new era of exploration in which we return to the Moon and go on to Mars and beyond," said Elliot G. Pulham, Space Foundation president and chief executive officer. "We encourage NASA to keep the dream of future exploration alive and well." Launched from Kennedy Space Center on July 26, Discovery's mission achieved all of its goals and a few extra ones, as well. Highlights include
- First-ever approach to the International Space Station that allowed cameras to capture highly detailed images of the spaceplane's heat protection system of tiles and blankets.
- Three spacewalks in which the station's attitude control system was repaired, additional equipment was installed at the outpost, and techniques for repairing damaged heat shield components were tested.
- First-ever maneuver by a spacewalker to go under the shuttle's belly and remove two bookmark-sized "gap fillers" that had loosened during launch and were protruding just enough to concern flight controllers about the safety of the vehicle during re-entry.
- The resupply of the station with critical food, equipment and other supplies and the equally important removal of waste and unneeded hardware - all using the Italian-built Multi Purpose Logistics Module.
Despite the worrisome loss of some foam from the external tank during launch, which was incredibly captured by a new camera installed on the tank, NASA officials said Discovery sustained 80 percent less damage from foam shedding than any other orbiter - proof that NASA has a renewed commitment to safety while pursuing continued space exploration. For more information about Space Shuttle Discovery's mission, go to www.nasa.gov. About the Space Foundation Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, the Space Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that vigorously advances civil, commercial, and national security space endeavors and educational excellence. The Space Foundation has offices in Washington, D.C., and Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Space Foundation annually conducts, along with its partnering organizations, Strategic Space 2005, Oct. 4-6, in Omaha, Neb.; Florida Space 2005, Nov. 15-17 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Fla.; and the Foundation's signature event, the National Space Symposium, April 3-6, 2006, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. For more information, visit www.spacefoundation.org.