Published 1:13 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2005
Residents say NASA was wrong
By JULIE RUSSELL – The Brewton Standard
After extensive inspection of the Discovery space shuttle, nine astronauts boarded the spacecraft and headed for the Space Station. However, they soon found out that a bit of filler material was protruding from between a couple of exterior tiles located on the shuttle's underbelly.
The Discovery is the oldest shuttle, and has flown 30 flights since 1984. It was recently redesigned in hopes of eliminating a problem such as the protruding material, since it was a foam-clad fuel tank that damaged the Columbia in 2003.
On August 2, astronaut Steve Robinson mounted a long, robotic arm outside of the shuttle, while astronauts inside the station maneuvered it so that Robinson could reach the underbelly and either tug on or cut the dangling material.
This operation is potentially risky, as no astronaut has ever attempted to make repairs while the vehicle has been in orbit.
Many Brewton area residents have strong feelings about this operation and the NASA program.
John Grosso also believes that the problem should have been fixed prior to take-off.
Some believe that NASA should have stopped the shuttle and brought it back to Earth after officials noticed the tile fall off the shuttle.
Rose Sherrer was just as concerned about the astronauts circling in space with a missing piece off the shuttle.
Barbara Vagenas trusts NASA to make the right decision.
On August 1 President Bush greeted the astronauts and congratulated them for being strong examples of courage for American citizens.
The crew was to spend 13 days in space, making their expected arrival date back on Earth August 8.