NASA Reduces Shuttle Trips For Space Station Completion

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With a number of exciting events occuring, the International space station has been the subject of much talk the last couple of days.

Yesterday, the 2-man crew successfully completed the first station-based spacewalk in order install a robotic arm and perform maintenance on the station’s oxygen generation unit. With construction of the facility yet to be completed, NASA has been working on how to finish the station with a minimum amount of space shuttle missions.

NASA’s new objectives come in light of the Columbia Shuttle disaster. According to the Houston Chronicle:

The Feb. 1, 2003, loss of Columbia and its seven crew members forced NASA to ground its fleet of space shuttles, the main space station assembly craft. Shuttle missions could resume between May 12 and June 3. Officials have estimated that it will take 28 missions to complete the space station

“The best way to minimize the risk is to minimize the number of flights,” said departing NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe, who becomes the chancellor of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge next month. “It’s in the best interest of all partners involved to complete the assembly as promptly as we can, and that means the fewest flights.”

President Bush wants NASA to finish space-station work by the end of the decade so it can focus on a new exploration initiative that would return U.S. astronauts to the moon by 2020 and prepare for human missions to Mars.

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NASA Reduces Shuttle Trips For Space Station Completion
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