NASA Targeting September Shuttle Launch

NASA has set a target date of September 2004 for when the first space shuttle will launch since the Columbia disaster. The agency was originally targeting earlier in the year, but they felt they needed more time to develop tracking and repair systems to fulfill the safety requirements suggested by the Columbia accident investigation. The improvements include new camera systems to watch the shuttle launch, a way for the astronauts to repair damage while they’re in space, and modifications to the external fuel tank to prevent foam from hitting the shuttle in launch. The next shuttle to launch will likely be Atlantis.