Katrina might have delayed the next Space Shuttle launch
NASA faced quite many problems with the Discovery Space Shuttle program this year. It was delayed many a times and they had to conduct repairs in the space due to damage caused by the falling debris on the surface of the Space Shuttle. The American space agency has already grounded the Space Shuttle fleet till they can solve the problems related to the damage to the surface of the shuttle during the launch process, and the recent Katrina hurricane has not helped the NASA a bit.
The space agency is already working on estimating the damage caused by Katrina on their operations and the preparation for the next Space Shuttle mission planned for sometime next year. One of the reports coming from the media sources suggests that the damage is so massive that it can take more than a year for the NASA to send another Space Shuttle to space. The original plan was to get another mission underway in March 2006.
Official word from NASA is that no decision had been made yet on a new launch window and that the agency was still determining the extent of the hurricane damage. The shuttle’s fuel tanks are built at a plant in New Orleans and the engines are tested at a site in coastal Mississippi. Both these locations were big targets in the hurricane and have suffered a lot of damage.
Looks like a lot of things are going wrong for the NASA at all the wrong times. The space agency already faces problems with the aging Space Shuttle fleet, which they are hoping to retire by 2010, and they have an entire space station (International Space Station) to complete.