Well, so begins the period of data gathering and analysis.

Shuttle program crew are now saying that the first sign of trouble they encountered was a loss of certain temperature sensors on the left wing of the orbiter, followed by a loss of temperature sensor readings along other portions of the wing and a landing gear assembly also on the left side. This was before mission control lost voice contact with the shuttle.

They also briefly addressed the ISS situation. Apparently a Progress module (Russian?) is scheduled to take off tomorrow for the station, packed with supplies for the current crew. There will be enough provisions to last through the end of June, which sets somewhat of a deadline for the next shuttle flight. This is, of course, assuming that mission commanders decide against using the attached Soyuz module to bring the astronauts home, which would effectively desert the station.

It’s interesting the comments that are being produced from this current NASA shuttle program briefing. Ron Dittemore, shuttle program manager, is describing space flight as a passion rather than merely a job. As sad as the day is (and this is very evident from the tone of the gentlemen speaking to the crowd), it’s hard not to detect a spirit of courage and a resolve to fix what went wrong.

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