Touchdown!

Andrei Marks · August 24, 2007

I guess I lied about the three articles yesterday! Well, here’s another two. This article is from the 2007-08-23 print of the 新京报, the Beijing Paper. Not too many America related articles in the International section, this one was from Miscellany. I decided that since I translated the setting off article, I might as well finish off with the returning home. This one is a Xinhua Press piece, the author being Deng Yushan.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=

An Injured “Endeavor” Returns Home Safely

- Returning home before schedule to avoid the hurricane; NASA temporarily halts all flight plans.

On August 20 12:32 EST (August 22 00:32 Beijing Time) the United States space shuttle Endeavor safely touched down at the Kennedy Space Center. Although the damage on the belly of the Endeavor did not have any effect on the return home, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided to temporarily stop any further shuttle launches until the problem of the outer fuel tank’s foam material falling off is resolved.

The 6 Astronauts are in Good Condition

After the Endeavor safely touched down on the 21st, the 6 astronauts were in good condition, but the female teacher Morgan still hadn’t acclimated to the effects of gravity, and was temporarily unable to stand up and move about. NASA head Michael Griffin said that she’s in fair condition, and she just feels “a little unwell”. The Ground Control Center joked with Kelly, asking him if he wanted to turn the shuttle around and take another trip into space. He replied, “First let us rest for the weekend, and then ask us again on Monday.”

Because of worry about the effect of hurricane “Dean” in the Atlantic, NASA decided on the 18th that the Endeavor would return home a day early. Because of this the Endeavor separated from the space station on the 19th, and foregoing the custom of circling the space station several times to “say farewell”, headed directly for earth after the separation procedure.

Two Flight Plans Within the Year Have Been Cancelled

After the Endeavor’s successful return home, although the safety concerns triggered by the shuttle’s belly injury vanished into thin air, the problem with the exterior fuel tank shedding foam material still troubles NASA.

After the Endeavor safely touched down on the 21, NASA employess quickly gathered at the side of the shuttle to examine the damaged insulation panel more closely, and there were a few staff members taking pictures. William Gerstenmaier, the Deputy Director responsible for the space exploration program said that the damage looked only slightly worse than it did in orbit. “A work team is going to remove those insulation panels, and insure that there isn’t any damage to the material underneath”, Gerstenmaier said.

And according to an introduction by Wayne Hale, the manager of NASA’s space shuttle program, NASA will temporarily suspend all shuttle launches until the foam material problem is resolved. NASA had originally planned to carry out shuttle missions in October and December of this year.


Translator’s notes:
- Scott Kelly, the pilot of the Endeavor this time around, must be well known in China, or the writer just forgot to introduce who he is.
- Ahhh! Chinese names are so frustrating. I’m tempted to just leave everything in pinyin.
- Nothing much to say, I should find some articles on China’s own space program, and see how that’s going, I haven’t heard from them in a while, aside from their plans with Russia. I guess it’s being overshadowed by the 2008 Olympics for the moment!

Comments/corrections welcome.

Twitter, Facebook