STS-121: The Shuttle is Back in Action

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off successfully on the Fourth of July, and STS-121 is now underway. It’s still kind of annoying that so much mission time has to be devoted to boom-mounted camera tile checks and damage assessment backflips, all to compensate for a system which subjects the vehicle to a rain of debris on every launch. But in these twilight years of the aging shuttle program, safety must come first, especially after Challenger and Columbia.

I have Nasa TV open in Quicktime on my iBook so I can watch the mission live while I work on my PC. Right now, the Shuttle and the Space Station have docked and their hatches are now open to each other. In a few moments, millions of tiny astronauts will wriggle into the space station’s airlock, fertilizing it so that in nine months, a new baby space station will be born, continuing the magical dance of life in space.