Last Time's a Charm

The first time turned out to be the charm for the Space Shuttle Discovery. The first launch attempt this morning went off without a hitch. Rod Rice reports that as the Shuttle Program comes to an end NASA is experiencing fewer glitches than in the past.

During the run-up to a launch problems are noted with IPR's, Interim Problem Reports. For this latest Discovery mission there have been 49, a record low.  In flight glitches have also been declining. NASA is hitting it's stride with getting shuttle's off the ground and back just as the program ends later this year.

NASA's Mike Moses says it is ironic.

"There is some irony in the fact that we are going to shut down at the peak of our performance, yet the reality is that in the budget world that we have we can't continue to keep doing that mission plus flying station plus go beyond earth orbit with a new system and it just becomes a trade at that point.  And while it is painful and sad to shut down the one program that's flying, you need to do it so you can to build the next program to continue on."

NASA says the reason the launches and flights have been running smoother is that work never stops on improving the shuttle program and will not until the last flight launches and returns safely.

Right image : Space shuttle Discovery lifts off. Image credit: NASA


Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...