Archive for November 22nd, 2007

Space Shuttle Atlantis Ready For Launch In December

The launch team at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the crew members of STS-122 concluded a successful dress rehearsal Tuesday for the upcoming launch of space shuttle Atlantis.

The real event is targeted for Dec. 6 on a flight to the International Space Station, but astronauts and flight managers and contractors routinely run through a complete practice to get ready for a liftoff.

NASA astronaut Steve Frick led his crew through the same activities they will conduct on launch day, including getting on orange pressure suits, riding to the launch pad in the astrovan and strapping into Atlantis.

Atlantis crew members

NASA astronauts Alan Poindexter, Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim took their places on the flight deck of Atlantis along with Frick.

There are two European astronauts also taling part in the mission. Hans Schlegel and Leopold Eyharts reclined in their seats on the lower deck. “For us Europeans, it is a special event,” Schlegel said. “For me personally, it is an honor and a duty and a joy for this team to bring up this unit and activate it in orbit.”

Atlantis is scheduled to spend at least 11 days in orbit. Three spacewalks are planned while the shuttle is docked at the station, to deliver and install the European Space Agency’s Columbus module to the ISS.

You can read more technical details of the space shuttle as an aircraft in our earlier post.

By Szafi
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Indonesian Boeing Loses Part of Wing Inflight

Many people around the world thought it’s not fair for the US and the EU to introduce and maintain a list of airlines which they ban from their airspace and classify as “not acceptable” basically in terms of flight safety. Besides saving their airspace from possible accidents, they are trying to protect their citizens by providing them with a list of airlines they believe is not safe to fly. The reason is usually the lack of proper technical maintenance at these airlines. ALL air companies of Indonesia have been on these lists since they were introduced, and many people did not like the idea of putting all aviation companies of a certain country on the list. But the recent events in Indonesian Air Transport show the list is (at least very close to being) right!

Batavia Boeing 737-400 (by airliners.net)

Let’s see the latest occurance of a flight threataning situation in Indonesia (following two deadly crashes this year) from last night:

A Boeing 737-400 operated by Batavia Air – a low cost airline on the Indonesian market since 2002, operating 36 aircraft including Airbus A319 and A320’s besides the older Boeing 737 family versions (-200, -300 and -400) – took from Jakarta Sukarno-Hatta airport, carrying 144 people (138 passengers and 6 crew). Not so long after take-off (about 15 minutes according to some of the news sources) a piece of the wing has simply fallen off the aircraft. Some reports claim it was a 2 m piece, while others are mentioning an “only” 40cm×50cm part. It doesn’t really matter how big it actually was, the fact that a part of the wing just falls off of an airplane carrying passengers is scary enough in my opinion and should not happen! According to some reports, the separated chunk of the wing landed close to the airport, others say it fell on a residential house. The plane was bound to fly to Pontianak on Borneo island before turning around and safely landing at the airport. Nobody onboard was hurt.

Fortunately this third relatively bigger incident in Indonesian Aviation this year did not claim any lifes, unlike the two crashes earlier in 2007 by Garuda and Adam Air, where a total of 123 casulties were suffered. We hope there will be no more aviation safety news from Indonesia this year, and that the domestic airlines will start taking air safety seriously following such accidents and incidents!

by balint01


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