Destiny research module is a long time coming

No, space is certainly not the right terrain for punctuality fanatics. Who likes to bow to the dictates of the clock and for whom time is money, should better not take up the profession of an astronaut. Because in this field delays and postponements are part of everyday life. Astronauts and cosmonauts are affected in the same way. In Baikonur, for example, the launch of a transport rocket planned for last Thursday, which is to control the crash of the space station “To me” to control, had to be postponed. The US space shuttle did not fare any better recently Atlantis

Umberto Guidoni, Claudie Andre-Deshays

When in 1748 the crude naturalist and politician Benjamin Franklin uttered the winged words “Time is money” he could not have known that his aphorism would one day anticipate the way of life of later generations. Almost all spheres of life in today’s fast-living society are permeated by it – such as the telecommunications or IT industries. Interestingly, this does not apply to the aerospace sector. Here, the ‘security factor’ always has the highest priority. Even the smallest problem – a single screw that is not properly fastened – can cause the launch of a rocket to be aborted during the countdown phase. Time only becomes a luxury in space travel when scientific astronauts spend only a short time in space and have to complete all possible experiments under rough time prere.

Since the International Space Station has taken up its position in orbit and the first crew has taken up quarters there, it is possible to afford to be a little more generous with time again. Nevertheless, this also has its downsides. The Expedition One crew of the International Space Station in particular can tell you a thing or two about this, as their patience in this regard has been severely tested on several occasions. At times they had to perform pure piecework under time prere, at other times they had to fight against phases of idleness and boredom.

Currently, the whole ISS project is behind schedule; something unexpected always comes up. Last month the news broke that the return of the ISS crew would be delayed by at least two weeks. The shuttle engine is responsible for this, but so are the launch rockets on the “Endeavour”. Both systems were not working correctly at the end of November. In fact, as a result of this disruption, the launch of the DiscoveryThe technicians had to replace 10 thrust nozzles of the engine with new ones.

Numehr was also the launch of the spacecraft Atlantis, which was originally launched on 19. February from Cape Canaveral in the U.S. state of Florida, the U.S. laboratory costing about 1.4 billion dollars (about 2.8 billion Marks) Destiny to the International Space Station (ISS) has been postponed. Once again, the booster rockets are responsible for this. These normally detach themselves two minutes after the start of the drive. However, if there is a delay or any kind of disruption, experts say there is a high risk for crew and drivers. The loosening of the launch rockets is done by an electronic connection, which according to NASA is used on the “Endeavour” and Atlantis identical in construction, but currently causing some problems. To check each of the 10 electronic lines connecting shuttle and booster rockets, the Atlantis driven back into the hangar. At the moment, it looks like she could not be released until 6 at the earliest. February left the assembly hall again.

While the technicians and engineers in Florida have their hands full, the Alpha crew is busy with light repair and inventory work. This includes checking the life support systems, a check-up of the electronics and individual technical devices as well as the control of various supplies (food, etc.).). But the crew also routinely prepares for the docking maneuver with the late Destiny outside. If the launch of Atlantis goes smoothly in two to three weeks, the hardest part of the mission will take place with the docking maneuver: Then it will depend on the skill and nerves of the protagonists involved whether the expensive research module docks as desired or not. The fact that the alpha and five-headed Atlantis crew is under a particularly rough prere this time results from the fact that for the Destiny-Module no back-up in the form of a second model exists. If the manover fails and the laboratory is irreparably damaged, this would be a serious blow to the ISS. Then the ISS schedule, which was already falling behind, was further delayed.

It remains to be seen whether the ISS visits planned by the European Space Agency (ESA) for its first two astronauts can take place on schedule. In any case, the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Antonio Rodota, is optimistic: “Italian Umberto Guidoni is expected to be the first to visit the ISS for eleven days in April. After that, in October, French astronaut Claudie Andre-Deshays will fly to the space station for ten days on a Russian rocket.”

Umberto Guidoni, who according to the schedule should have flown to the ISS as early as June 2000, is scheduled to bring a total of 10 tons of equipment on board in April, which will be stored in a special Italian logistics module named Leonardo is being transported.

It is completely open who will be the first German astronaut to set foot on the ISS. Also with a big question mark is the launch of the European space laboratory Columbus. Originally, the module was supposed to be launched on board of a US space shuttle in 2003. But there is much to suggest that even the newly set date (February 2004) will not be met. This also applies to the European European Robotic Arm, to be sent to the station in November 2001. He is to be used to assemble the Russian segment of the station. At the moment, it is still being tested for its airworthiness.

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