Columbia’s insular hopes

NASA is planning another launch of the shuttle Columbia. They are planning to send a seven-person crew to work on the space station, and are making backup plans for a second launch with a smaller crew in case they need to rescue the first crew.

They have been doing drills for the astronauts to be able to repair and replace some of the foam tiles during spacewalks. They said that the suitcase-sized hunk that fell off during the last liftoff and damaged the wing should not happen this time, after some re-engineering. They say that the biggest hunk of foam to fall off now would be marshmallow-sized.

Everyone keep your fingers crossed. (I will abstain from the obligatory Sta-Puft reference here) Our space program has been lagging for a few years now, and we could use some good news.