Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The NASA Space Shuttle Discovery roared into the Florida sky at 10:39AM ET (14:39 UTC), 2 weeks after the launch was scrubbed due to a faulty sensor. The launch was the start of the STS-114 mission, which is planned to be completed on August 7, 2005.
Solid rocket booster separation was triggered two minutes and five seconds into the flight after burnout of the putty-like fuel packed inside each rocket. The firing of explosive bolts freed the twin boosters from the side of the external tank, allowing them to peel away from the space shuttle. Parachutes were then automatically deployed from the boosters, allowing them to slowly descend into the Atlantic Ocean where they will be towed back to shore.
Discovery initiated the command for main engine cutoff, or MECO, at the 8-minute, 23-second mark. MECO shuts down the orbiter’s three powerful engines in the rear of Discovery after completing the “uphill” climb into space.
With the ascent into space complete and fuel in the external tank exhausted, Discovery jettisoned the orange canister. Following jettison, Commander Eileen Collins pitched the orbiter up until the tank could be sighted through the orbiter´s upper windows. Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi then took digital photographs and video of the external tank from a distance of just 1,500 feet.