Space Shuttle Ready for Countdown
The space shuttle Discovery is ready for a July 1 launch, according to NASA. With its overhauled external fuel tank and additional safeguards built into the aircraft, the Discovery is significantly different from previous shuttles. NASA hopes that the newest version of the shuttle is much safer than the Columbia and Challenger, both of which experienced catastrophic failure that resulted in the deaths of all on board.
The upcoming mission for Discovery will include a visit to the International Space Station to deliver a crewmember and supplies. Space Station repairs and spacewalks are also on the agenda for the 12-day mission. If necessary, a rescue mission can be launched, a prospect that previously wasn’t possible. The shuttle must launch between July 1 and July 19 or else NASA will have to scrub the mission. NASA expects that the upcoming flight will be the first of many in upcoming months.