Successful Launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery

NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery successfully launched this morning from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. The return to flight comes 2 ½ years after the Space Shuttle disaster claimed the lives of seven astronauts returning to Earth after a successful mission.

The liftoff occurred at 10:39 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The return to flight has been an arduous process of improving safety and inspecting equipment in the aftermath of the Columbia disaster. Experts believe the accident was caused by debris that damaged the space shuttle during launch. For this current launch, a plethora of surveillance equipment watched for similar incidents. The measures detected debris falling from Discovery but it does not appear that any damage occurred to the space shuttle’s skin. Video and images of the launch will be closely reviewed for the next several days and the crew will continue their own inspection throughout their mission.

The Discovery STS-114 crew includes:

Their mission is to test new safety techniques developed over the past few years and to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). The crew will also undertake spacewalks to deploy new ISS modules.

The space shuttles were developed in the 1970s. NASA plans to retire the remaining fleet around 2010 while a next-generation Crew Exploration Vehicle is developed. NASA hopes to return humans to the moon by 2020 after President Bush outlined new space exploration goals last year focused on the Moon and Mars.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).