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Discovery Makes Picture Perfect Launch

After a two and a half year wait, space shuttle Discovery blasted into orbit from Cape Canaveral today, the culmination of a long and complicated return to flight effort, the first since the Columbia tragedy in 2003. It was a perfect launch for the shuttle after an almost two week delay because of a faulty […]

After a two and a half year wait, space shuttle Discovery blasted into orbit from Cape Canaveral today, the culmination of a long and complicated return to flight effort, the first since the Columbia tragedy in 2003.

It was a perfect launch for the shuttle after an almost two week delay because of a faulty fuel sensor inside Discovery’s external fuel tank. Here at JSC, hundreds of NASA employees cheered and some cried as they watched the launch on huge television screens. Astronaut Dan Tani, who flew aboard shuttle Endeavor in 2001, says getting Discovery into orbit is a huge morale booster for NASA.

The 12-day mission is described as a test flight that will try-out new safety measures built into the shuttle, including new sensors in the wing and a boom that will be able to inspect Discovery’s external skin. The crew will also take supplies to th International Space Station.

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