UnNews:Space Shuttle launches after duct tape fix
17 March 2009
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off successfully on Sunday night after multiple delays. The latest glitch, a hydrogen fuel leak, was patched up earlier in the day with duct tape. "we didn't really have too much time left in the launch window to fully investigate the problem," admitted a NASA official, adding that he is "pretty confident" the duct tape will hold up. Technicians say an extra layer of the tape was put on the leaky unit "just in case."
Despite the leak fix, the liftoff was almost aborted at the last minute due to a different problem. Apparently the engine started making weird noises during ignition, but "one of our tarmac guys ran up there and gave the shuttle a bit of a kick, and, you know, that made the noise go away," said a NASA spokesperson. Astronauts aboard the shuttle laughed off the incident, with experienced shuttle commander Lee Archambault remarking, "This is nothing. I went to visit MIR once when the Soviets were still around. Up there, if something WASN'T making a funny noise you would be worried. One time the oxygen circulation system stopped making sounds, and well, oh the memories!"
Video taken from cameras mounted on the shuttle's external fuel tanks during launch showed the duct tape peeling a bit, but officials assured everyone that during a planned spacewalk the astronauts can take a look at it. "If we feel it's a problem, we'll apply another layer of tape. There are over a dozen rolls on board." Scientists aren't sure if the duct tape will survive re-entry into the atmosphere, but they think it will, concluding that "come on, it's duct tape."
The shuttle is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station on Tuesday, where it will deliver much needed supplies, including staples, nails, and of course more essential duct tape. The Space Station's solar panels are getting a bit loose after getting hit with some space junk recently. Later this year, the shuttle will fly for a final servicing mission of the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists say the telescope won't last more than a year or two more. "By now, like 25% of its weight is duct tape. As good as it is, we just can't keep patching it up forever," says one astronomer.
- Irene Klotz "Shuttle Discovery blasts off for space station." Reuters, March 16, 2009