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Space Science

Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off 445

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the our-starblazers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNN is reporting that the Space Shuttle Discovery has lifted off, marking the United States' returned to manned space flight for the first time since the Columbia disaster in February 2003"
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Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off

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  • by SoCalChris (573049) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:01AM (#13165134) Journal
    "There are large vultures circling the launch tower, we've got to ask ourselves if they know something that we don't". Jackass.
    • still better than watching it on the local highschool a/v club-quality news we get on the local channel (channel 13 in orlando).

      at least we got to go up on the roof to see it and didn't have to bother with any talking heads.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:04AM (#13165188)
      That's why you watch CNN and Miles O'Brien if you need a commentator. The guy is an enthusiast, and his excitement comes across the screen quite well.

      Watching the shuttle seperate from the fuel tank was amazing, and you could tell he was just as excited about the new video feed from NASA as I, or any self respecting nerd, was.
    • by ErichTheWebGuy (745925) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:11AM (#13165278) Homepage
      That's why I watched it on the Science Channel. No political commentary (not that I even know if the other networks offered any or not). Nothing but coverage from the scientific aspect of it. They had current and former NASA guys offering commentary.

      I gotta say that it was the best coverage of a launch I have ever seen, even better than NASA TV's coverage!
      • That's because the Science Channel probably has a bigger budget Than NASA this year. :)
      • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@y a h o o . c om> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:28AM (#13165493)
        I gotta say that it was the best coverage of a launch I have ever seen, even better than NASA TV's coverage!

        I was watching HDNet's coverage before heading out to work - I can't wait to get home and watch the actual launch in HD (it's DVR'd). I did take note of the overall tone of the coverage, though, which was great - very little commentary at all, mostly just a run-down of what was happening at any given time. The goal was to inform, not to editorialize, and there was obviously no pressure to "fill in the gaps" left by silence. It really almost gave you a feeling of being there.

        Their coverage also began about three hours ahead of time, with at least half a dozen HD cameras (a few of their cameras were in SD, unavoidably). You really got to see everything, including the astronauts driving up to the launch pad, then riding up the elevator, suiting up and buckling in. The shots of the launch pad in HD looked really amazing, and I can just imagine what the launch itself looked like. I wish they'd show all launches like this!
        • I for one would go out and finally buy an HD TV and subscribe to a channel that consisted solely of Earth views from an HD-capable camera placed in orbit permanently. Or you could just bolt this on to the side of the ISS. How hard could this be? And you could use the footage for MSN Maps (ka-dunk!)

          I have a small pile of "Earth View" tapes from early shuttle missions that NASA used to sell for cheap. Good viewing, slap in a tape and put your favorite space music on the CD player. Not very HD but an excellen
        • by MonkeyGone2Heaven (720397) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @12:48PM (#13167427)
          The goal was to inform, not to editorialize, and there was obviously no pressure to "fill in the gaps" left by silence. It really almost gave you a feeling of being there.

          You just hit the nail on the head as to what ails American TV broadcast of live events, most commentators don't know when to STFU. You'd never know a picture's worth a thousand words with all the inane drivel being spewed. Sportscasts are the worst in this regard. What I wouldn't give for the ability to filter out the commentators but keep the event/crowd sounds. Sigh...
          • If you have a surround sound rig, you can probably just mute the center channel, and boost the surround channels. That should raise the crowb noise enough to almost drown out the commentary.

            Even if you only have a two speaker (simple stereo) setup, you can connect the +left and +right wires to the two terminals of one speaker to get the L-R signal, which should be the surround sound, crowd noise. If you connect the +left and +right wires to one terminal of the speaker, and then ground the remaining termi
    • by nuggetman (242645) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:12AM (#13165290) Homepage
      it was a former nasa crewmember, commenting on his thoughts during one of his own launches
    • The launch was tense. I watched it on CNN live and you just sat there watching it lift off waiting for something horrible to happen.

      Nothing did. I'm one of the people who think that the flight missions are pointless when all we do is go to the space station and have no real objectives (I'm more for the rovers) but watching the successful liftoff was breathtaking.

      Good job for NASA.
      • I'm one of the people who think that the flight missions are pointless when all we do is go to the space station and have no real objectives (I'm more for the rovers) but watching the successful liftoff was breathtaking.

        I know it's an area that people have differing opinions, but it seems that there are two very valid goals for the space program, no?

        • learning more about physics on an astronomical scale (eg. how galaxies, solar systems, stars, planets form... learn more about the birth of the universe
    • by reporter (666905) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:23AM (#13165429) Homepage
      One of the crew members of Discovery is Soichi Noguchi [allheadlinenews.com]. He is part of the recently created Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). According to "JAXA eyes moon shuttle by 2025 [japantimes.co.jp]", JAXA plans to create a manned shuttle for trips to the moon.

      Perhaps, Tokyo should consider using Japan's arsensal high-performance computers [slashdot.org] to advance the state of the art in fighter aircraft and space vehicles. Designing these devices requires intensive numerical simulations which are ideally suited to such high-performance computers, which have been relegated to more mundane tasks like terrestrial simulations (e.g. weather simulation). Building the precursor to a starship seems to be a tad more interesting than terrestrial simulations.

      • I disagree. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by i41Overlord (829913)
        Perhaps, Tokyo should consider using Japan's arsensal high-performance computers to advance the state of the art in fighter aircraft and space vehicles. Designing these devices requires intensive numerical simulations which are ideally suited to such high-performance computers, which have been relegated to more mundane tasks like terrestrial simulations (e.g. weather simulation).

        I always hear people saying stuff like, "more powerful computers will allow us to build better aircraft and conquer cancer!!!!!"
    • really? there were really vultures?

      the german commentator i was listening to was having a great time detailing every single computer-state change down to the launch and even until SSRB detach .. so kraftwerk, it had me reaching for my vocoder...

      great that discovery is off. gonna hold my breath until the chutes' deployed and the handbrakes on, however ..
    • There are always vultures there. I went on a tour of the facilities a while back and there were vultures all over the place especially flying around the VAB. I asked some employees there about this and they say the vultures get great thermals there because of the huge building.
    • Do you always post the same comment on Slashdot and Fark [fark.com] ?
    • we've got to ask ourselves if they know something that we don't...

      That says it all right there - you don't have to ask that question, especially not if you're a professional commentator who understands the importance of the moment.

      Beavis and Butthead would certainly have asked it, but you'd hope to expect more from a professional.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Where?
  • by null etc. (524767) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:02AM (#13165148)
    marking the United States' returned to manned space flight

    Here's hoping to United States' returned to proper grammar and editorial spellchecking.

  • Camera Views (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deinhard (644412) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:02AM (#13165149)
    What was fascinating about this launch were the number of cameras catching the action. Watching the orbiter separate from the main tank from the tank itself was fantastic.
  • Incredible! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Paska (801395) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:02AM (#13165154) Homepage
    That was incredible, sitting in my chair at Australia watching the live NASA TV really gave me goose-bumps. God speed to the crew, and a few rounds of applaud to the people at Nasa.

    The footage on Nasa TV was the best I've ever seen, keep it up Nasa - Fantastic work!
  • Succesful launch.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spaztech (899194) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:02AM (#13165156)
    Takeoffs are optional, landings are mandatory. Let's hope they have a successful mission and a safe return.
  • I was watching it live, but then the connection crapped out because of all the people watching.

    Now I'm sad.

    • My girlfriend reported the Yahoo stream crapped out about 25 seconds to lift off. The RealPlayer streams worked perfectly for me however, and are still rocking with the replays - I love it.
    • RealPlayer crapped out on me just as the shuttle cleared the tower... and I couldn't get the stream up again until just after SRM seperation. Damnit!

      (I started with the Yahoo viewer but it crapped out on me multiple times during the countdown...)

      I envy my wife... she's at home watching it on NasaTV (on Cable)

      -everphilski-
    • hehe I used the main large window stream from NASA.. not a glitch :)
  • BBC article (Score:3, Informative)

    by vinlud (230623) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:03AM (#13165167)
    The Beeb has also an article [bbc.co.uk] (ofcourse)

    Kudos to all the Nasa engineers!
  • I was just in Orlando this past week, 45 minutes away from Cape Canaveral. I flew home last night, so if it had launched just a day or two earlier I would've been able to see it live...darn. Either way, I'm glad that this launch went smoothly, any more problems would be very very bad for NASA at this point.
  • by voss (52565) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:03AM (#13165180)
    or any landing where all seven astronauts walk away from it.

  • by peculiarmethod (301094) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:04AM (#13165181) Journal
    I saw the live feed from NASA.. I must say congrats.. but I'll give the conspiracy theorists something to ponder.. from the t-minus 30 minutes that I caught it, there was no switch to internal cameras to show the crew on-board.. this was not the case on the feed from the scrapped launch weeks ago. plenty of live shots on the crew that time. hmmmmm.. perhaps this mission is humanless??? hmmmmmmmmm???

    or perhaps they're sending te backstreet boys, cause they needed funding.

    RIAA FUNDS NASA!!

    hehe
  • A toast! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gamingboy (901447) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:04AM (#13165185)
    I propose a toast:

    To Apollo One!
    To Challenger!
    To Columbia!
    To all those we have lost in the pursuit of human understanding and knowledge!

    Long live exploration!
    Long live science!
    Long live Earth!

    LONG LIVE.... DISCOVERY!
    • by Thud457 (234763) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:11AM (#13165281) Homepage Journal
      Sad to say, but the examples you cited weren't lives lost in the pursuit of knowledge.

      They were lives lost to managerial short-sightedness and corner-cutting.

      It's one thing to take a calculated risk when you understand the odds. To take your fate in your own hands. It's totally different to put your fate in the hands of others, who then don't treat the situation with the diligence it deserves.

      You wanna try your luck with the Russian space program?

    • To Soyuz 1 and 11!
      To the 1960 refuelling and repair explosion in Tyuratam (USSR)!
      To the 1980 Vostok rocket explosion at Pletetsk (USSR)!
      To the 1993 VLS-1 rocket explosion in Brazil!
      And the 2004 solid fuel rocket fire in Sriharikota (India)!
  • First, suprised it took this long to get a /. thread up about it because...

    Second, couldn't find a damn feed of the liftoff. Nasa's page had both Real and WMP feeds but Real needed update after update and WMP just fizzled. CNN had the same clip it had since this morning. Yahoo was alright but very choppy. Was hoping a friendly /. poster would have a comment to a good feed but.....

    I heard there was a practically a media city down there but I barely saw it. sigh.

    oh, btw, congrats NASA!
    • I don't know if you were limited to internet only, but it was on FOX news and CNN also (cable tv).
    • I saw it on CNN I think. A bunch of people here at work watched it from t-1:30 until the commercial break. Which the commercial was the Windows self help guy, with his CDs to help you learn how to use Windows. At which point everyone walked away and went back to work. The obital saparation from the fual tank was spectacular though. Never had shots like that before, so it was a very nice first.
  • After two and a half years, this launch made my hair stand on end again. All the best to the crew and their families.

    Man, what it must be like to ride one of those things.
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:05AM (#13165209) Homepage Journal
    The missing link: Spaceflight Now's Mission Status Center [spaceflightnow.com] (text version).

    Darned Dallas newspaper printed the 10:39 time as though it were local, so I missed it. The Mission Status Center is the next best thing. Interesting tidbit: "Mission specialist No. 3 Andy Thomas ... spent four months living aboard the Russian space station Mir in 1998." So he's got experience patching up balky tin cans in space...
    • I have a friend who alerts me in IRC when it's time to watch, so the Dallas paper didn't mess me up. Unfortunately, neither the Yahoo servers nor the Akamai servers (both of which were NASATV's "partners") gave me anything to watch. Closest I got was a frozen "live" image of the shuttle with gantry still attached, then the screen going grey and the audio coming on and telling me they were 500 miles out. And that was in realplayer, which I was desperate enough to dl because Yahoo's link just gave me blank pa
  • Liftoff! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UMhydrogen (761047) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:06AM (#13165217) Homepage
    I got to watch the liftoff while at work, at a place where many of the parts of the shuttle were built. It was pretty cool watching it next to guys who had helped build it! All their explanations definitely made the launch even more exciting. God speed to the crew and lets hope they have a successful mission and a safe return!
  • I wonder.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pickyouupatnine (901260) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:06AM (#13165222) Homepage

    I wonder if the amount of $$ being spent on running the current space shuttle program is worth it.. or if that money would be better spent in not going to space for the next 5 to 10 years and developing something to replace the current shuttle program.

    Even after all the precautions, there were still NASA employees crying foul at today's launch date - which raises the question, "What will it take to convince all NASA employees so the general public can be then convinced to fully back this program?"

    Best of luck to the current crew. Hope they fly high and land safely.

    • Flight hiatus (Score:4, Informative)

      by amightywind (691887) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:24AM (#13165454) Journal

      or if that money would be better spent in not going to space for the next 5 to 10 years

      That was the original rationale for the space shuttle program. There was a 7 year flight hiatus. What good did it do? We really need a more incremental program. This is something we should learn from the Russians. The new NASA administrator is behind the idea. I think you will see a new Crew Exploration Vehicle launched by a shuttle-derived booster, sooner rather than later.

    • Re:I wonder.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:37AM (#13165604) Journal
      I don't want all NASA employees convinced to fully back the shuttle program. The shuttle program is not the end-all of spacecraft. It's debatable how useful a step in space exploration it even was. It's an amazing feat of engineering, no doubt, but NASA does a lot of other stuff, stuff that gets underfunded in order to keep the shuttle going.

      I'm not sure what your take is on it. Your second paragraph seems to contradict what you said in the first? Do you think NASA should fire anyone that won't toe the line in regards to the management's talking points? That doesn't sound to productive for an agency with a scientific mission.

      What was interesting to me was that during the liftoff, the announcer said something to the effect of (paraphrasing) "We have launch of discovery, starting a new era of american space flight taking us to the moon, mars, and beyond!"

      I found that interesting because this shuttle launch, while nice, is not any sort of real step forwards to any of those goals. It's not a big step in terms of technology or procedures. It's another replay of something that was pretty much figured out 25 years ago. It's maybe a small step in public perception of the space program, but that's it. It's a new "era" in space flight only because we're so eager to shut everything down when things go wrong.

      I dunno, I'm just rambling now. I get this way when I see so much potential get drowned out in PR and politics, and the space shuttle continues to be an example of this.
  • Relating Links (Score:4, Informative)

    by JonN (895435) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:07AM (#13165225) Homepage
    Check out

    Miles O'Brien's Launch Blog [cnn.com]

    Shuttle Details [nasa.gov]

    Return to Flight [nasa.gov]

  • Tried to watch it launch live via space.com but was getting about 8b/s on the live feed. Works great now that it doesn't fucking matter.
  • Scene: me and 50 coworkers at a NASA subcontractor watching the webcast a la MSN Video on an XP box.

    20 seconds before launch, the feed goes blank. Way to piss off a bunch of rocket scientists, Microsoft. Way to go. We ended up watching the rest on NASATV on a puny TV, which was ahead of the webcast by a minute. In other words, by the time the webcast went blank, back on the regular TV, we had already missed ignition and lift off.

    ARGH!
  • God Speed (Score:4, Informative)

    by iShaman (86503) <jstanger@@@roadup...com> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:13AM (#13165305) Homepage
    Eileen Collins [nasa.gov], James Kelly [nasa.gov], Charles Camarda [nasa.gov], Wendy Lawrence [nasa.gov], Soichi Noguchi [nasa.gov], Steve Robinson [nasa.gov], and Andrew Thomas. [nasa.gov]

    Good luck and come back safe.
  • by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:13AM (#13165312)
    By loading up X-Plane [x-plane.com] and flying the Space Shuttle [x-plane.com] to a nice successful landing.

    Pity X-Plane won't simulate the launch... or the ISS, but oh well.
  • by fsh (751959) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:15AM (#13165337)
    I was worried that they were just going to go up and down this first time out, but they're doing some pretty serious work.

    From the Mission Briefing [nasa.gov]

    Several elements will be carried in Discovery's payload bay for delivery to the Station. These include the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello, containing racks of supplies, food and water, and the Human Research Facility-2 rack. Also, the External Stowage Platform and a replacement Control Moment Gyroscope will be carried in Discovery's payload bay.

    During Mission STS-114, mission specialists will perform spacewalks to install the External Stowage Platform and the Control Moment Gyroscope onto the Station. They will unberth the logistics module and attach it to the Station to transfer several tons of supplies and equipment, including food and water, for use by the Expedition 11 crew.

    As much as I wish they were putting money into something other than the ISS, it's fantastic to see that the shuttle is fully operational again.
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:15AM (#13165338) Homepage Journal
    From Spaceflight Now [spaceflightnow.com]:

    1512 GMT (11:12 a.m. EDT)

    T+plus 33 minutes. A few seconds after solid rocket booster separation, a large chunk of something broke free from the external fuel tank. The onboard video camera mounted on the tank showed the object flying away from the vehicle without striking Discovery.
  • Did anyone else notice that a large piece of .. something.. fell off just after the SRB's separated? It looked black in the tank camera view, and flashed very clearly in the view for short time on the left side (seen from the camera) of the shuttle. I doubt it was an SRB because they had already fallen further away a few seconds earlier.

    I bet we will be hearing a lot about that in the next few days as people start looking more closely at the camera recordings!
  • Near miss? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edremy (36408) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:18AM (#13165382) Journal
    From spaceflightnow.com

    T+plus 33 minutes. A few seconds after solid rocket booster separation, a large chunk of something broke free from the external fuel tank. The onboard video camera mounted on the tank showed the object flying away from the vehicle without striking Discovery.

    Want to bet that chunk of film is going to be looked at rather closely?

  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:25AM (#13165463)
    Here's to a successful mission AND an equally successful landing.

    Digressing...

    I can still vividly recall the Challenger disaster vividly. I was in highschool in NH. Not the one Christa McAuliffe was from, but then NH is a small state so everybody was psyched. A friend told me he heard about the explosion on the radio. We listened for a little while before going to the cafeteria for lunch. One of the women serving lunch asked if I was ok (I guess I looked really pale) and I told her what had happened. She chuckled & said I must be joking. I snapped back at her, and I still remember it clearly: "Do you have a radio in here? Then turn it on!", then left. When I came back for more food a little while later they did have a radio on and she was incredibly apologetic. That's one of those days I'll probably remember for the rest of my life.
  • Glad the webcast coverage held up. Was watching space.com, and got disconnected a few minutes before launch, but it came back. Not like SpaceShipOne launch...pretty much missed that whole thing!
  • So I pull out of my driveway into the street, then the guys on the radio say "We're switching over to the shuttle coverage, it lifts off in one minute". I turned right around, went back inside the house, turned on the radio, then turned on the TV, all the while annoyed that I didn't realize it was a morning launch. By the time the TV warmed up, it was T+7 seconds. So I watched the ascent on TV (crystal clear digital television, by the way) while listening to the radio. Once it was part way up I switched
  • by Wonderkid (541329) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:35AM (#13165576) Homepage
    Sky News (UK) have clearly shown an object falling onto the tail of the shuttle as it left the launch pad. The tail knocks the object with enough force to push the object upwards. Question is, is it the same type of object that was shown falling away at booster seperation?Hopefully no damage to the shuttle tail.
    • MSNBC just showed the video a few times.. it fell off from the side/bottom of the big orange tank and it went out/down and away from the shuttle. so from the video, it seems it didnt hit the shuttle or anything
  • Spaceflight now [spaceflightnow.com] has an image [spaceflightnow.com] from the external tank video that shows a piece of debris falling off from the external tank, just after the solid boosters separated. It doesn't seem to fall in the shuttles direction.
  • It's 11:42 and I'm listening to NASA TV. Eileen just radioed in that they got great pics of the tank and the reply from Houston was, "That's awesome."

    It's time for me to apply to NASA.


  • It was not scheduled to launch for another four months, it was in its hanger, and no one was aboard at the time.

  • ...is, right now, playing live downlink audio while the video is showing replays of all the engineering camera footage.

    All the engineering camera footage. While I've been watching they've gone from cameras 150 to 171, one after the other; all the grainy, low-quality video recorded by every single diagnostic camera all over the launch site.

    NASA TV is so wonderfully geeky --- I love it...

  • debris? (Score:5, Informative)

    by quark007 (765762) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:50AM (#13165796) Journal
    SpaceflightNow reporting [spaceflightnow.com]
    - An image from the external tank video shows the chunk of debris breaking away from the tank just after the solid boosters separated.
    See the image here [spaceflightnow.com]
    • Re:debris? (Score:3, Informative)

      by identity0 (77976)
      Right now (T+ 6:03:00) on NASA TV mission control is saying to the crew that they've detected two unknown objects falling off at the time of SRB separation, one on video and one on radar, and that they will be going over those soon.

      They have told the crew that there is no schedule change for the mission, and that they just wanted to inform the crew, there are no real problems detected as of now.
  • by AgentSmith (69695) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:56AM (#13165882)
    Okay. It's kinda on topic.

    Bart: Go, Dad, go!
    Lisa: "How doth the hero strong and brave,
    A celestial path in the heavens pave."
    Everyone: Huh?
    Lisa: [quiet] Go, Dad, go.

    Quote from Simpson's episode titled
    Deep Space Homer

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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