Discovery's Big Dish Antenna Damaged

Discovery's astronauts surveyed their ship Tuesday for signs of launch damage, but the job was complicated by the failure of the space shuttle's big dish antenna.

The antenna failed to operate after Discovery blasted into orbit Monday on a space station supply run. That leaves the seven astronauts with no way to send or receive big packages of information, like the images of the shuttle's wings and nose that were collected early Tuesday morning, The Associated Press reported.

The shuttle is carrying new sleeping quarters for the space station's crew and science racks for its various laboratories.

Discovery's Big Dish Antenna Damaged
Discovery's Big Dish Antenna Damaged
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, Computerworld reported.

"The vehicle is clean, the weather is good and this team is ready," Mike Leinbach, the shuttle launch director, told the crew shortly before liftoff.

“Let's do it,” replied Discovery's commander, Alan Poindexter, Houston Chronicle reported.  






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