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News Notes
Science and Society
Discovery returns to flight

The space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew lifted off at 10:39 a.m. on July 26, successfully returning NASA to flight after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus. The launch followed a 13-day delay after a faulty fuel sensor halted the first launch attempt during countdown.

After performing the first-ever in-space repair of the shuttle — to fix some “gap filler” materials hanging in between the tiling — Discovery returned safely to Earth on Aug. 9, landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The launch was the first shuttle mission since the Feb. 1, 2003, Columbia disaster.

Read about the launch and repairs in online stories, posted July 26 and Aug. 4, in our Web Extra Archive at Also visit this month’s Benchmarks on page 53 in the print edition for more on past Return to Flight missions.

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