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NASA Space Science

Discovery Lands in Florida 83

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the return-to-terra-firma dept.
duh P3rf3ss3r writes "As reported by the BBC, the space shuttle Discovery safely landed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2232 GMT. Discovery's 13-day mission is being called a success after astronauts undertook four space walks to install new wiring and to do battle with a recalcitrant solar panel. The next scheduled flight is the Atlantis shuttle in March. A video chronicle of the mission, including the landing, is available at NASA's video gallery."
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Discovery Lands in Florida

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  • You can (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chanrobi (944359) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @10:53AM (#17347948)
    land the shuttle too! http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=1758 [the-underdogs.info]
    • Re:You can (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @11:46AM (#17348154) Journal
      Uh, what... Time to switch to a more modern Shuttle sim perhaps? ;-)

      Orbiter [ucl.ac.uk] (more info and screens [wikipedia.org])
    • I tried and failed to get the old game from the "underdogs" to run under WINE/Crossover. Downloading Orbiter now to try it. Did anyone have any success with getting any of the games to run under Linux? Anyway, congratulations to the Shuttle crew!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Never even heard of that game before, awesome : )

      On another note - I may be a cynic, but it never ceases to amaze me how fast top billing, world shaking, future of space travel, front page news can turn into a slownewsday tag on slashdot.

      not so long ago, the discussion would be on if we would ever see the shuttle land again - and if it would be decades before any privately owned spacecraft achieved the same feat.
  • Fuglesang! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nevtje(hr (869571) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @10:56AM (#17347968)
    Välkommen hem!

    First swedish astronaut ever. I'm so proud!

    Even cooler is the fact that he is funny (not some deeply overserious physics guy)- I very much enjoyed the interview with him from ISS.
  • ugh (Score:1, Flamebait)


    They can put a crew up in space, but in order to watch a clip of the landing you have to download the newest RealPlayer... /sigh

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by LaughingCoder (914424)
      And what exactly did that cost you? Probably Real subsidized the video distribution. Would you rather have paid to see the clip? If you are nervous about what Real might do to your machine, then you can use a virtual machine and install the Real player into that. Then after watching the clip, exit the machine without saving state and voila - no harm done. I will say that I have not tried this with Real player so I don't know if it will work in this particular case, but I have used this technique with other
    • Re:ugh (Score:5, Funny)

      by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudsonNO@SPAMbarbara-hudson.com> on Saturday December 23, 2006 @12:23PM (#17348340) Journal

      Don't worry - you didn't miss anything ... the Florida voters did a recount and it turns out that Discovery actually landed in Maryland.

  • Maybe if they could launch a dozen a day it would be a useful thing, otherwise it's just a way to keep NASA employees employed.

    • Why is legitimate criticism of the futility of permitting NASA to continue leading the vanguard of spaceflight modded as a troll?

  • When is the Hubble service mission going to happen?
  • Why bbc? (Score:4, Informative)

    by wik (10258) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @11:44AM (#17348142) Homepage Journal
    Of all news sources, why the random BBC link? Why not link to the shuttle website [nasa.gov]?
  • by ishmalius (153450) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @12:09PM (#17348274)
    That would have been an awesome sight, that thing landing in the (relatively) lonely desert. One of the promised features was supposed to be the ability to land anywhere. Unfortunately, things have not turned out that way.
    • by amightywind (691887) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @12:24PM (#17348344) Journal

      Some people will find the negative in anything. Nothing wrong with a safe, routine KSC landing. For the record the shuttle has an 1100 mile cross range. It was in a highly inclined orbit, so its landing opportunities were limited. Also there are only a handful of runways in the entire world that can handle it, none of which are equiped with crane needed to place the orbiter on top of the carrier aircraft. A White Sands landing would have added 2 months to Discovery's turnaround for the next launch. If you really want to see a shuttle landing at White Sands, dig up the video from STS 3.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)
        Some people will find the negative in anything. Nothing wrong with a safe, routine KSC landing.

        This article came up overnight for me. We really are living in the 21st century here. A spaceship landed on a runway in florida a couple of hours ago and the article is tagged "slownewsday".

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wwphx (225607)
      We were hoping for a White Sands landing as it is 30 miles away from our house. I didn't know that it had previously landed there until early this year I was spending time at the White Sands Missile Range museum. Apparently the sand on the runway did quite a number on the brakes.

      I think it might have landed here once while being flown from California on the back of its 747, but I'm not certain.
  • by hex1848 (182881) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @01:06PM (#17348514) Homepage
    I was hanging out with a couple of buddies here in Tallahassee yesterday after workb and heard a "boom boom" sound which pretty much shook the whole house. All the dogs in the neighborhood started barking. We thought it was an explosion or something off in the distance, I guess this could explain what it was. It was right around 5:30 PM EST (give or take a few minutes).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cyclone96 (129449) *
      Yep, that was it. You get a double boom because of the length of the orbiter (the longest supersonic vehicle there is, with the demise of the Concorde). There's a shock off the nose and one off the tail, and they are sufficiently far apart to hear two booms.

      We heard it in Houston at 4:20 CST. A bunch of people at JSC wandered outside looking for it (although we all knew it would be next to impossible to view). Among those craning their necks looking was John Young, who commanded the first shuttle missio
      • by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @03:03PM (#17349000) Homepage
        length of the orbiter (the longest supersonic vehicle there is, with the demise of the Concorde)

        I believe that honor goes to the B-1B. According to Wikipedia, the STS orbiter is 122 feet long, while the B-1B is 137 feet.
        • by cyclone96 (129449) *
          Aha, I stand corrected. And built by the same company (Rockwell) no less.
        • by crotherm (160925)

          Wrong.. It was another Rockwell plane.... The XB-70 [wikipedia.org].

          • Is it still active or extant?
            • by crotherm (160925)

              They only made two, and one crashed when it sucked in a large bird. High altitude bombers viability were questioned after the U-2 got shot down. Even still, the technology learned on that program was impressive.

              My dad was a big part of the flight dynamics... As he was for the B-1 and B-1b.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rxmd (205533)
          I believe that honor goes to the B-1B. According to Wikipedia, the STS orbiter is 122 feet long, while the B-1B is 137 feet.

          The Tupolev 160 is 177 feet long and still in operation.

          The XB-70, which is no longer in operation, was 185 feet long, but then the Concorde was 202 feet long.
    • by blixel (158224)
      I live near Orlando and heard it too. It was the loudest re-entry boom I've ever heard. I was at my computer when it came back yesterday and I hadn't been paying attention to the news for the previous hour so I wasn't expecting it. I literally jumped up out of my chair because I was so startled by it. And it was the same here regarding dogs. I could hear a chorus of dog barks all around the neighborhood.

      P.S. Congratulations Sweden.
  • I don't mean to be a spoil sport, but Shuttles landing safely isn't all that intresting to me anyomre.
    I read the headline & thought maybe Florida shot down a UFO, or a larger than usual space rock landed with never before seen minerals, or somthing else that doesn't happen often.
    • by Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @04:13PM (#17349406) Homepage Journal
      Normally they aren't that interesting to me, either. But this is different.
      You see, after the Discovery had launched and was in space, it was discovered that something had hit the wing and maybe damaged some wiring. When I heard about that, I was afraid then that we might get another Columbia incident.
      They set a record on spacewalks this mission because they had to take an extra spacewalk to fix that wing.
      And then, this shuttle landed on the very last day it could have safely landed. There was bad weather in Calif. and bad weather in Florida continually up to that day. If it had tried to land through bad weather, it risked crashing. If it had stayed up another day, it would have ran out of fuel and become a very large piece of space junk. So the people in charge of landing this shuttle took a gamble.
      So yes, the Discovery landing safely, in one piece, and with everyone onboard alive is news. Excellent news, but news nonetheless.
      • by Rebuke (994145)
        A sensor on one of the wings registered a very small possible impact, below the level they are normally worried about. To be safe, they added an extra inspection of the wing using one of the robotic arms (I can't remember whether it was the shuttles or the stations) - this showed nothing so the shuttle was cleared to return, they didn't have to fix anything...

        The extra space walk was to fix one of the space station solar array wings which hadn't retracted like it was supposed to, nothing to do with the sh
        • Thanks for the info. Since I am not usually interested in space shuttle missions, I didn't have that good an idea of what the astronauts were doing up there.
          That NASA didn't think this was a serious problem didn't comfort me. They saw nothing wrong whatsoever with Columbia before it crashed. I don't believe that NASA actually found a solution to the falling foam problem; they just couldn't let it stop missions any longer. (The Discovery mission before this one got some minor dings from falling insulati
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 23, 2006 @01:20PM (#17348550)

    For all you space fans out there, I suggest you make an effort to watch these shuttle launches, landings, and ISS construction missions when they happen. There are only 14 more space shuttle flights planned before retirement of the entire fleet in early 2010. All except one (the Hubble Telescope repair mission) will be construcing and resupplying the space station.

    Spaceflightnow.com has a nice manifest of future flights (see link below). Number 3 on the manifest just finished.

    http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/fdf/manif est.html [spaceflightnow.com]

    Yes the shuttles have enormous problems (huge costs and long turnaround times, for example), but they are really the most versatile and capable spacecraft ever sent into orbit. After the shuttles are retired, we'll be going back to Apollo-style craft for the foreseeable decades. I for one am glad my child is old enough to be able to see and remember these shuttles flying in their final years.

    • by hey! (33014)
      I remember getting up early to watch the very first launch live, with a couple of friends (shows you how public interest in space flight has changed). I'll have to figure out some way to watch the final landing live.
    • Amen. I've watched a couple of them courtesy of NASA TV. Now that the end is tangibly near, I'm hoping to plan a trip to KSC to see one myself before they're all done.

      Of course, when we get that far (2016 or so), the massive Ares V's should be able to put on a pretty good show, but without the glamor of hanging that pretty white glider off the back of the stack.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by GvG (776789)
        I actually went to KSC to see the last launch (STS-116). It's amazing, I can really recommend it. If you're serious about going there, I'd recommend subscribing to NASA's "Armchair Astronaut" newsletter. That will keep you informed when Launch Transportation Tickets are going on sale. A Launch Transportation Ticket gives you access to the closest public viewing site. For the STS-116 launch they were sold out in about 15 min.
  • The video crashed my Firefox browser twice.
  • ...on any ISS construction mission on Nasa TV, whenever a spacewalker tightens a bolt or moves a plug from one socket to another, Mission Control goes into absolute paroxysms of congratulation? Is it really that difficult? These guys are in an air-conditioned environment, and as well as having trained for years to be able to do it in their sleep, have their 'boss' tell them exactly what to touch at every single minute step along the way, with no distraction from other work colleagues.

    I reckon a vast majo
    • Is it really that difficult?

      Yes.

      Have a few drinks, put on an 02 tank, dive underwater, check your weight for neutral buoyancy, and then try turning a bolt on a million-dollar piece of art made out of material not that much sturdier than a cardboard box. Oh, and put a man with a loaded gun and free reign to kill you outside of the pool.

      Spacewalks are NOT easy. I may be under-stating the difficulty/stress combination.
      • by markjo (977895)
        You forgot to mention that you are also wearing hockey gloves while trying to turn said bolt.
  • I don't know about you, but I'd love to see some pictures of this "Florida" place.. I mean, if the shuttle has actually landed there safely, are the astronauts going to finally walk on the surface of florida? Are they taking samples back to earth? This is truly a historic day.. the first steps on the alien soil of "florida"...
  • slownewsday???? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by potat0man (724766)
    wtf. What's with the slownewsday tag? A successful space mission isn't news for nerds?
  • I hope they ran all kinds of multi-phasic scans to check for invisible aliens cuz we don't want them sneaking back to earth on them.......what?!....well what are you thinking of between Stargate Seasons?

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