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Fraser
2004-Aug-26, 05:08 PM
SUMMARY: Two radars installed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center tracked the recent launch of the Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft, and demonstrated they can be of assistance when the space shuttle returns to flight next year. During the launch, the radars "saw" the rocket's nine solid rocket boosters separate, as well as the jettison of its first stage and payload fairing - they could even see pieces of ice falling away. This means that the radars will be able to track the space shuttle as it launches, and spot any debris that falls off, regardless of visibility, darkness or cloud cover.

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Duane
2004-Aug-26, 07:51 PM
Another piece of the puzzle that brings the shuttle closer to return to flight. There is only seven months left for the Mar 05 target, but it seems like they are making good progress.

StarLab
2004-Aug-26, 10:17 PM
This is probably what we shoulda done with Columbia, though it's waaay to late to say that now. Having the satellites keep track of each other. A very good plan.

Tom2Mars
2004-Aug-27, 12:41 AM
Sure sounds helpful. But, considering the age of the shuttle and all the other little problems, and combinations of problems, and things that haven't even shown up yet...it is more likely that something new and different will come up as the next major problem.

Absolute vigilance on known problems vs flexible alertness to new problems. It's a toughie. And, it can only be safely worked out if there are enough "eyes" considering as much as possible, all the time. Not a time for budget cuts, that's for sure.