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Damage to the shuttle "Discovery" will help the Russian Space

April 8 2005

The main body of the fuel tank space shuttle "Discovery", launched in mid-May, the cracks, but the launch date remains unchanged. This news disturbed not only Americans, but also representatives of the Russian space industry.

After the accident, which happened in 2003 with the space shuttle "Columbia" thousands of American professionals have worked to ensure the new shuttles from both large and small accidents , according to CNN.

Completed the construction of the shuttle "Discovery". The ship is equipped with two powerful rocket boosters and external fuel tank after 8 hours of travel brought to the launcher station in the Space Center. Kennedy (Kennedy Space Center) in Cape Canaveral (Cape Canaveral), Florida.

Transportation of Discovery was delayed by 2 hours, after workers discovered a crack in the plating tank for fuel. NASA immediately made examination of the defect. It was established that the crack is in nekriogennoy (low) zone tank, it is so insignificant that, in principle, the tank does not even need fixing. NASA press secretary Tracey Young (Tracy Young) said that the size, depth and location of the cracks are such that the Discovery can be run "as is".

By midnight, the shuttle arrived at Cape Canaveral.

"It will be absolutely safe mission. If we were not sure of this, the launch is not would be no question ", - says NASA spokeswoman.

After the accident, the shuttle "Columbia" burned up in the sky over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003, the organization has undergone numerous NASA obstruction, because the shuttle did not meet safety standards. The accident, recall occurred because of damage to thermal insulation lining of the left wing. Due to damage to the overheated gas ignited and destroyed the ship, whose crew was 7 people.

Since then, design the shuttle has undergone 286 modifications, 40 of them were asked to create for the analysis of the accident, "Columbia" expert office Columbia Accident Investigation Board (SAINB).

Failure to "Columbia" has forced NASA to radically revise the "safety culture" and to develop a tough and technical circuit test new shuttle. Today, NASA is trying hard to regain the good name, because the launch of Discovery will be next after the infamous launch of Columbia. " In addition, the memory of people is the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger, which shook the entire world for almost two decades ago.

Mistakes made last time, today we are absolutely clear - the director of the Department NASA Leroy Cain (LeRoy Cain). - We have made the necessary findings and are fully aware that we do. "

Starting a new space shuttle must be made in the interval between May 15 and June 3. Or between 12 and 31 July. Why? These intervals recommended by the aforementioned Office Columbia Accident Investigation Board. This time, the optimal conditions for photographing the NASA space shuttle lift during the day, according to expert opinion (we recall that the Bureau CAINB was founded on the heels of the accident the previous shuttle and specifically to investigate its causes). However, in the world press was "sly" about what such a hurry to launch a commercial rather than technical reasons. In the context of these rumors, you will agree, the assurances of experts that the crack in the shell of the tank, "not felt" even on an occasion for conversation, sound ambiguous.Plus - the shuttle's chronically "bad luck": "Challenger", "Columbia" ...

Who is right and who is wrong, we will know on May 15. On this day, Discovery will fly in air - I want to believe only in the most literal sense. However, the "sly" has a direct relationship to Russia. What?

To date, armed with NASA, there are three reusable manned space shuttle, the last of them built before the tragedy of the Challenger - more than 20 years ago. In this book, and to finance the construction of new shuttle Americans refused - the cause is primarily a relatively recent tragedy of the Columbia. President Bush has firmly stated that the revision of priorities and objectives of the national space program - the shuttle flights will be phased out by 2010, when the construction of the International Space Station (ISS). Moreover, by 2017, Washington is going to stop financing and the use of the ISS, NASA and the work will be aimed solely at creating a new generation of spacecraft for exploration and possible construction of stations on the Moon and Mars.

But in the future. If, however, ignore the global plans and return to the present day, it is obvious: if the current spring-summer "Discovery" will not be sent into orbit, the U.S. might have problems with delivery of the astronauts and cargo to the ISS and the performance of contractual obligations for the construction of the station. In the past two years, only Russian Soyuz spacecraft flew to the ISS and the astronauts brought back (today, incidentally, in orbit, together with the Russian Salizhan Sharipov working American Leroy Chiao (Chiao), and April 15 from the Baikonur Space Agency launches another expedition, which will deliver ISS Sergei Krikalev, Italian Roberto Vittori (Vittori) and U.S. astronaut John Phillips (Phillips).

Until now, all flights of Americans aboard the Soyuz carried out and financed within the framework of international obligations for the construction of the space station, ie "Cheap". But in the near future cooperation with NASA, Russian Space Agency will go on a commercial basis. According to the head of the Federal Space Agency Anatoly Perminov, in 2006 the U.S. will have to pay for the services of the Union. We will now begin talks with their American colleagues about the scheme of rotation of ISS since 2006. We hope that the shuttles resume flying in May and June. But if this does not happen, we pose the question of payment of flight NASA astronauts on Russian Soyuz spacecraft since April 2006 ", - said Perminov.

So, if the Discovery safely fly (and land), then the explicit financial gain will not Russia but America. And if suddenly ... But think about it and indecent.


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