NASA won't launch Discovery until at least February 3
December 3rd, 2010
12:15 PM ET

NASA won't launch Discovery until at least February 3

NASA says the final launch of the space shuttle Discovery has now tentatively been moved to no earlier than February 3rd.

The launch, originally scheduled to blast off on November 5, has been plagued with technical problems delaying the mission.

Discovery's departure has been delayed several times because of bad weather, gas leaks, electrical glitches and cracks found on the shuttle's external fuel tank.

The voyage is expected to be the last for Discovery as NASA prepares to retire the shuttle fleet.

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Filed under: Shuttle • Space
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Rally2xs

    The shuttles were junk from the start because they were designed improperly, with a goal of "how can we save money" rahter than a goal of "how can we build the best, safest system we can." They were and are deathtraps, and the sooner we get back to a capsule at the top of a rocket with an escape rocket tower, the better.

    December 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    I recall reading years ago about NASA being forced to scour places like ebay for items such as 1970s-era Atari game systems that could be cannibalized for components to keep the shuttles flying. Very resourceful, but not exactly confidence-inspiring. I'm no scientist, but as Jeverett alluded to above, it seems common sense that by now we must be pushing the limits of the structural integrity of these vehicles.

    I do hope we won't allow politics to put an end to all the amazing achievements.

    December 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Life on Planet Backwards.

    It's a shame that we're losing yet another of things we used to be the leaders in, I guess we've decided to put all our eggs in the old war basket. Maybe one day our huge investments in war will pay off with a bright, peaceful, and prosperous future for our children. To the victor goes the spoils right? What has science and technology ever done for mankind anyway?

    December 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Any loss of human space exploration

    Closing NASA for all of you that want to close NASA and spend the money on the poor, needy, uneducated, aunts, uncles, medical programs, you name it. I am just waiting for the first object we discover headed for Earth because then all you people are going to be screaming her head off about why the government does not have a space program to protect them. You people have to remember the human race has all its eggs in one basket, both the good eggs and bad eggs. And if you think that free enterprise is worried about something slamming into the earth and killing your Butt you do have a good imagination.

    December 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Harry S.

    And this is the best that you c – that the-the government, the *U.S. government* can come up with? I mean, you-you're NASA for cryin' out loud, you put a man on the moon, you're geniuses! You-you're the guys that think this sh!t up! I'm sure you got a team of men sitting around somewhere right now just thinking sh!t up and somebody backing them up! You're telling me you don't have a backup plan, that these eight boy scouts right here, that is the world's hope, that's what you're telling me?

    December 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Howard

    In all the argument about whether the shuttles are fine or too old to fly, no one seems to be considering a couple of things. First, we obviously knew how to build B-52's that can last for decades and 100's of thousands of flight hours. The shuttles, on the other hand, have no more than a few thousand hours. Second, if the shuttles are a sample of the durability of our space technology, should we even be thinking about manned flights to Mars, where a mid-flight event like Apollo 13 would be a absolute death sentence?

    December 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      But how do the stresses placed on the shuttles compare to the stresses placed on a B-52?

      December 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakobi.

      But there's a big difference between building something that flies no higher than 50,000 feet subsonic and something that needs to go into orbit. The shuttle was an interesting concept back in the 1970s, but has outlived its usefulness by about 20 years.
      There is NO REASON to risk human lives exploring space. Unmanned vehicles are the way things will go in our lifetimes. Budget constraints will force this.

      December 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. E.S. Guy

    Check out Obama talking about what a waste NASA is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrdwhXNt4qw

    December 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Murdan

    A new American shuttle has been made but its not NASA its Military, Top engineers have finally cracked and reverse engineered some key components in tech that they have aquired. This will lead to a safer and more fruitful space program. however we wont see or hear much of it due to its classification....do you really think we would just striaght up abandon a program we have spent billons and billons of dollers on. you will see, just be patient.

    December 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Any loss of human space exploration

      Is that why they moved area 51. 🙂

      December 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dwight

    Time to retire them. Past due.

    December 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe Bleaux

    Republicans claim to want smaller government. Well, Obama slashed NASA's budget and now Republicans are crying and whining. Make up your mind.
    The shuttles are old and need some better technology to replace them. Myself, I think we should let private industry take up that challenge. Burt Rutan has done a good job of it so far. He'll be taking tourists into space probably next year. Private industry has always done a better job than governments at just about anything.
    I'm also glad he scrapped that Moon/Mars idiocy. We don't need to send people into space, that costs way too much and is far too dangerous. For the price of one manned mission to the Moon we could send out dozens of robot probes to do real, valuable science. Obama has shown that he has a real understanding of the role of NASA, unlike his predecessor who thought grandstanding, cowboy manned missions that accomplish little was the answer.

    December 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Any loss of human space exploration

      All of you that want to save the planet; well your best bet is getting humanity in space and off the planet.

      As for there being nothing left to explore close by as somebody commented. I still do not see Helium 3 being transported here from the Moon; a plentiful energy source that could easily supply us for the next two centuries; and no; oil would not become obsolete.

      December 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Samuel

    The realities are; this planet and this solar system is doomed to extinction when Sol expands and casts off it's outer shell. The only possible way for the continued exsitence of the human race is to colonize somewhere outside this solar system. Granted, we may very well extinct ourselves prior to the the 4 billion year time frame of that catastrophy, BUT, by all accounts it's going to take a long time to figure out how to get us there! How about we let NASA continue to work on that?

    The meek shall inherit the earth (and can stay here and burn)... the rest of us will go to the stars

    December 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Samuel

      Yup, but unless you are going to be around for another couple of billion years, I don't think we really need to worry about it.

      December 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alan

    Fine... let's put the money back here to use at home. Let's use up NASA's current budget for some other domestic program, administered by some agency that in 10 years will be found to have wasted the funds or diverted them to some clandestine slush fund for the benefit of a select few. Better yet, let's use the money so every household in the USA can buy a dome to put over their houses. That way, everyone can live in their sterile little environment completely safe from everything that can harm, risk or possibly kill. NOT.

    There's RISK in any venture; including Manned Space Exploration. Stop it, cut funding for it, and where does that leave us? What is there for our future generations to hope for? How will we be able to truly interpret what's happening in Space if there isn't a human presence to break it down in terms that we can understand?

    Use the leftover funds for domestic projects? We can't even figure out how to treat each other with common courtesy and respect! We've become spoiled, narrow minded, and arrogant as a nation. Because of that, we have lost the spirit and drive to explore; to learn new things, to come together as A PEOPLE and overcome our differences for the betterment of EVERYONE. Not just in the USA, but EVERYWHERE.

    The end of Manned Space Exploration as a whole would be a disgrace to all of the brave astronauts that came before, and soils the memories of those who have given their lives in the service of their country and the Planet Earth: Apollo 1, STS-51C and STS-107. In essence, it's part of what makes all of us American; the desire to explore, to meet new challenges, to learn.

    December 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. john

    Manned space = survival of human race in case of global disaster such as an asteroid or comet destroying earth not to mention aiding in finding such threats and ways neutralize them and to spread humanity out into the stars so we dont have "all our eggs in one basket" literally.

    I see no point in anyone raising the $ issue when manned space only costs 100's of billions and is probably the most important thing humans can do ensure future survival, when washington ' gives" 9 trillion with a T to banks including foreign ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ban may in da qua su dung , ban may in cu , may in cu

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    August 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
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