NASA: Key antenna fails as Discovery enters orbit
Space shuttle's Ku-Band antenna is used during rendezvous with International Space Station
Computerworld - After a successful launch early this morning, NASA officials later discovered a snag when the space shuttle Discovery entered its orbit around the earth.
NASA today reported that the shuttle's Ku-Band antenna did not complete its activation sequence after Discovery entered Earth orbit. The antenna was still not working this afternoon, according to NASA's Web site.
The dish-shaped antenna is used for high data rate communications -- transmitting video images, as well as working with the shuttle's radar system -- with members of the ground crew and with astronauts on the International Space Station.
The space agency pointed out, though, that the shuttle has backup systems and still will be able to rendezvous with the space station. It may, however, take a little extra work to make that happen now.
The shuttle is slated to dock with the space station at 3:44 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.
Discovery lifted off at 6:21 a.m. Eastern time today from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During a 13-day mission in space, Discovery's seven crew members are expected to deliver some 17,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the space station.
The shuttle is carrying new sleeping quarters for the space station's crew and science racks for its various laboratories.
Shuttle crew members are slated to make three spacewalks during the mission to replace a gyroscope on the station's backbone, install a spare ammonia storage tank and retrieve a Japanese experiment underway on the station's exterior, according to NASA.
NASA noted on its Web site this afternoon that onboard flight controllers are troubleshooting the problem with Discovery's Ku-band antenna, while also working on plans to complete the mission without it if necessary.
The Ku-Band system is just one of several communications systems onboard the shuttle that can be used to send and receive voice and data. The other systems --- S-band and UHF -- are operating normally, NASA noted.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld.
Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Government IT in Computerworld's Government IT Topic Center.
- An Insightful Approach to Optimizing Mainframe MLC Spend This paper discusses how you can penetrate the complexity of IBM mainframe MLC products and the MLC price model to gain insight into...
- Meeting the Exploding Demand for New IT Services In this eBook, explore the top trends driving the New IT for IT Service Management, and how leading organizations are evolving to focus...
- Hybrid IT-A Low-Risk Path from On-Premise to ITaaS This white paper provides a strategy to move part or all of your ITSM suite to the cloud as a stepping stone to...
- Paving the Windows XP Migration Path to Success Support for Windows XP has ended, leaving organizations with three choices: Windows 8, Windows 7 or a combination. With the right planning and...
- Increase Your Data Center IQ Discover how to improve network efficiency, lower IT costs and more proactively manage your physical, virtual and cloud environments.
- Optimize Data Center Resources and Plan for the Future Eliminate over-provisioning and capacity shortfalls with pro-active capacity optimization. Join us in the evolution from capacity monitoring to capacity optimization in your data... All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts