미국의 우주왕복선 디스커버리호의 승무원들이 지구 귀환을 준비하고 있다고 미 항공우주국, 나사가 밝혔습니다.

나사의 우주왕복선 계획 책임자인 폴 힐씨는 5일 디스커버리호가 지구 귀환을 앞두고 순조로운 상태에 있으며 6일 오전 국제우주정거장에서 격리될 것이라고 말했습니다. 힐씨는 현재 큰 위험은 착륙 예정지인 플로리다주 케이프 캐너버럴의 날씨라고 말했습니다.

한편 나사는 디스커버리호 발사시 외부연료탱크에서 떨어져 나간 파편조각이 디스커버리호에 부딪히는 사고와 관련해 우주왕복선 발사를 한동안 중단하는 방안을 검토하고 있습니다.

 

(영문)

The U.S. space agency, NASA, says the astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery are packing up and getting ready to return to Earth.

Flight Director Paul Hill today (Friday) said the shuttle is in pristine condition for the critical re-entry phase and will undock from the International Space Station (ISS) early Saturday.

He said the big risk now, aside from the inherent risk of de-orbiting through what he called "a fireball," is the weather at the intended landing site (at Cape Canaveral) in Florida.

It may be the last shuttle mission for some time because of debris that fell from the external fuel tank and struck Discovery during liftoff. After exhaustive in-flight analysis, NASA declared the shuttle intact and safe for
re-entry -- but has grounded the fleet until the problem can be resolved.

Similar damage to the shuttle Columbia led to its fiery destruction during re-entry in 2003, killing all seven astronauts aboard.