Space Shuttle Update

Space shuttle Discovery is about 3 hours away from their de-orbit burn for an expected landing of (17:39 UTC).

NASA are about to start their go/no-go poll to close the payload bay doors.

It’s actually pretty busy up there in orbit right now with (by my count) 32 people spread between the shuttle(7), space station (3) and another 3 in a Soyuz module which is docking with the space station any minute. This doesn’t break a world record, but it does match previous records set in 1995 and 1997 when the Americans and Russians had separate stations in space.

On a related note (shuttles re-entering) , I stumbled across a very interesting article about the shuttle flight STS-27 back in 1988. This was flight took a classified satellite into orbit and it appears that it suffered significant damage to its heat shield. It’s worth a read and shows that the Columbia accident in 2003 probably could have been avoided. The article can be found here.

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