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“发现”号顺利升空 碎片脱落引悬疑
Updated:2005-07-29 13:33
NASA sends shuttle to space, debris fears arise

“发现”号顺利升空 碎片脱落引悬疑

“发现”号顺利升空 碎片脱落引悬疑

NASA successfully launched space shuttle Discovery on Tuesday, but anxiously reviewed video showing debris falling from the craft during liftoff, the same problem that caused the fatal Columbia disaster 2-1/2 years earlier.

NASA successfully launched space shuttle Discovery on Tuesday, but anxiously reviewed video showing debris falling from the craft during liftoff, the same problem that caused the fatal Columbia disaster 2-1/2 years earlier.

The debris did not appear to hit the shuttle during the smooth morning blastoff, marking a triumphant U.S. return to manned space travel after the long struggle to recover from Columbia's breakup over Texas.

Engineers hoped to know by Sunday whether Discovery was damaged and whether the crew should attempt repairs, flight operations manager John Shannon said.

A chunk of foam from an external fuel tank hit Columbia's wing during liftoff on Jan. 16, 2003, and caused a breach that tore the shuttle apart when it reentered Earth's atmosphere 16 days later. All seven astronauts aboard were killed.

Discovery, also carrying seven crew members, soared into slightly hazy skies on Tuesday, leaving behind a trail of smoke and flames, while the roar of its booster rockets rattled windows and shook the ground across Cape Canaveral in Florida.

"I want to ask you all to take note of what you saw here today," said NASA's new administrator Michael Griffin, basking in a palpable sense of relief that swept through the launch management team after Discovery safely reached orbit.

"The power and the majesty of the launch, of course, but also the competence and the professionalism, the sheer gall, the pluckiness, the grittiness of this team that pulled this program out of the depths of despair two years ago and made it fly."

Discovery's main mission on the 12-day space flight under veteran astronaut Eileen Collins is to test new safety measures and heat shield repair techniques introduced since sister ship Columbia disintegrated on Feb. 1, 2003.

An unprecedented array of 112 cameras, radars and sensors was set up to monitor Discovery's launch. One showed what may have been a small chip from an insulating tile falling off the underside of the shuttle's nose cone, Shannon said.

Another seemed to show a larger piece of debris peeling off the exterior fuel tank. Mission control officials at Johnson Space Center in Houston said technicians would analyze the data "frame by frame" to see if there was any damage.

Discovery's other main mission is to deliver several tonnes of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station, whose construction has been on hold since the remaining three shuttles were grounded in the aftermath of Columbia.

Discovery's launch was delayed for two weeks while engineers searched for the cause of an elusive problem with one of its hydrogen fuel-level sensors during the first launch attempt on July 13.







在“发现”号安全进入预定轨道之后,整个发射管理团队如释负重。美国宇航局新任局长迈克尔·格里芬(Michael Griffin)也长舒一口气,说,“我希望你们能够记住今天所看到的一切。”










debris: the scattered remains of something broken or destroyed; rubble or wreckage(残骸破裂或被毁坏的东西剩下的碎片、碎石或残余物)

chunk: a thick mass or piece(厚块或大片)

palpable: easily perceived; obvious(明白的很容易察觉的;明显的)

grittiness: (坚韧不拔)

elusive: difficult to define or describe(难于定义或描述的;逃避的,不易被抓获、觉察、理解或记忆的)

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