Blast Off!

Andrei Marks · August 10, 2007

From the 2007-08-10 print of The Beijing Paper (新京报), on page A30. An article in the International News–Current Politics section. Two part article, news story plus a little mini-bio. The former comes from the Comprehensive Xinhua Press, and the latter was written by Hu Ruoyu, for the Xinhua Press.

America’s “Endeavor” Successfully Launches Into Space

- This marks the return to flight of all three of America’s remaining space shuttles after the Columbia Accident.

On the 8th, at 18:36 Eastern Standard Time (6:36 on the 9th, Beijing Time), the American Space Shuttle Endeavor successfully launched from Florida’s Kennedy space center for the International Space Station, carrying a flight crew of seven. This is the Endeavor’s first flight mission carried out in close to five years.

Supplying Materials for the Space Station

According to NASA Television’s live broadcast, the launch took place at nightfall, and the weather conditions were perfect throughout. As the ignition countdown concluded, Endeavor, which towered above the 39A launch platform, began to rise into the sky. Two minutes later, the Ground Launch Control Center confirmed that the rocket booster and the orbiter had successfully separated, “Endeavor is flying normally.”

This is NASA’s second shuttle flight mission this year. The objectives of this flight include carrying to and installing on the space station a structural component weighing close to 1.6 tons, supplying materials for the space station, and completing a few of the space station’s repairs.

5 years of Repair Overhauls

However, because this is Endeavor’s first flight in nearly five years, she is being watched very closely. The last time Endeavor had a flight mission was in November of 2002, soon after which the Space Shuttle Columbia break-up accident occurred. In the two and a half years following the accident, NASA temporarily stopped all shuttle missions. The Discovery and the Atlantis have already returned to space before the Endeavor. For five years she has been lying prone on the ground, receiving a complete overhaul, with in excess of 200 different technological repairs being made. The Endeavor’s flight marks the return of all three of the remaining space shuttles to flight status after the Columbia accident.

The “Focal Personage” on this flight is flight crew astronaut Barbara Morgan, the head teacher-astronaut. Morgan was the back-up choice behind Christa McAuliffe, the female teacher aboard the Challenger in the 1986 accident.


Female Teacher is Responsible for Operating Mechanical Arm

- Will also answer questions from students while in space.

20 years ago, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration implemented the “Teacher-in-Space” Program. In 1986 Barbara Morgan was the back-up replacement for Christ McAuliffe, who met with tragedy in the accident. As the Endeavor ascended into space, Morgan was sitting in a seat in the crew cabin. When McAuliffe was on her own ascent, she sat in the very same seat.

When Morgan is in space, she will call some students from Idaho. Before she became an astronaut, she once taught at a middle school there. If it is possible to extend the mission from the planned 11 day flight to 14 days, she will also have an opportunity to answer questions from students of two other states. Morgan also plans to begin a series of educational activities after she returns from space, including giving out the several million seeds she has brought with her to children of different ages, in order to increase their interest in space exploration.

However, Morgan’s main role is still that of astronaut. On this mission her assignment is to serve as the mechanical arm operator, and she is also responsible for overseeing the entire process of moving the Endeavor’s cargo to the International Space Station. Currently, the Endeavor has already entered its planned orbit, and in 10 days will catch up to and link up with the International Space Station. According to the Associated Press, Morgan has already begun all types of preparations and surveys for her upcoming work, regularly updates data from mission control devices, and has successfully begun operations in the cargo hold.

Two additional captions under pictures:
-‘On the 9th, NASA Television pictures show Morgan working in the space shuttle’
-‘On August 8, 6:36 pm EST, the space shuttle Endeavor successfully launches into space from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.’

Translator’s Notes:
-There actually weren’t any Iraq stories at all today! And just this one about the space shuttle. The Chinese are generally very happy with America’s space exploration, they’re looking to do it themselves after all.
-After rereading the article I realized it sounds pretty choppy. In general, Chinese sentence tend to go on and on with commas galore. So I usually break them up. I think it might just be the style of this journalist, but his sentences were relatively straight forward, so I didn’t touch punctuation too much. I suppose from now on I’ll also combine sentences if need be.

Comments/corrections welscome.

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