Discovery Launches Into Space

Published: 1988
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
Kennedy Space Center, FL: With the Space Shuttle poised on the launch pad for its first operational mission, the satellite-toting payload canister holding the two communications satellites slated for launch 11/11 is hoisted to the payload changeout room.

Robin William: “Good Morning Discovery.”

Howard Dicus: A wake up call in space

Robin William: “Good Morning Discovery”

Howard Dicus:Robin William parodies his own movie.

Robin William:“Good morning Discovery.”

Howard Dicus: And the process says hello to the astronauts.

Robin William:“Rise and shine boys, it's time to start doing that shuttle shuffle you know what I mean.”

Howard Dicus:A light moment made possible by serious success. America's return to space. Rob Navias was there.

Rob Navias: On September 29th, 32 months and one day after the darkness of the Challenger disaster, it was morning again for NASA and the shuttle Discovery.

Unknown Speaker: We will go for main entrance start. Seven, six, start, three two one, zero and lift off, lift of. Americans return to space as discovery clears the tower.

Unknown Speaker: “Roger all discovery.”

Rob Navias: Astronauts Rick Hauck, Dick Covey, Mike Lounge, Dave Hilmers and Pinky Nelson sped towards space on redesigned solid rocket boosters. Around the Kennedy Space Center almost a half million spectators held their breath for the first two minutes of the first -- first Challenger climbed to orbit, praying that those booster would hold together.

Unknown Speaker: “Discovery don't throttle up.”

Unknown Speaker: Roger.

Rob Navias: Everything worked like a charm and Discovery sailed smoothly onto orbit where the astronauts successfully deployed a large NASA communication satellite and conducted a variety of experiments. On October 2nd as they stow their equipment, the astronauts took time to reflect on the flight, paying tribute to their fallen comrades of the shuttle Challenger. Commander Hauck putting a poignant punctuation mark on the meaning of the mission.

Rick Hauck: “Today, up here where the blue sky turns to black, we can say at long last to Dick, Mike, Judy, to Ron and El, and to Christa and Greg: Dear friends, we have resumed the journey that we promised to continue for you. Dear friends, your loss has meant that we could confidently begin anew. Dear friends, your spirit and your dreams are still alive in our heart.”

Rob Navias: On October 3rd their goal of returning America to space released, the astronauts headed home. Hauck and Covey fired Discovery's breaking rockets for the super sonic slide back to earth. An hour later over the half million people on hand, Discovery glided toward a dusty desert runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Unknown Speaker: We have stopped.

Unknown Speaker: “Roger, we will stop Discovery. Welcome back, a great inning to the new beginning.”

Rob Navais: NASA's rise from the ashes of Challenger was complete. NASA was back in business looking forward to a busy year in 1989. This is Rob Navais at the Kennedy Space Center.

Howard Dicus: The US space program wasn't the only one that had a good year. The European Space Agency put its failures behind it, launching one satellite after another. The Soviets launched their first space shuttle. The brief flight was undertaken with no one aboard. The take off and landing controlled by computer. At New Year's end two cosmonauts set a new space endurance record on their way to a scheduled full year in space.