Space History: Shuttle Launch Delayed … By Woodpeckers

Fifteen years ago today — July 13, 1995 — the Space Shuttle Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center on mission STS-70. The mission had been scheduled to launch in June, but over Memorial Day weekend woodpeckers damaged the insulating foam on the external tank (shown below), which had to be repaired before the launch could proceed.

(STS-70 external tank, showing woodpecker damage. NASA image.)

Once the mission finally got underway, astronauts Terence T. Henricks, Kevin R. Kregel, Nancy Jane Currie, Donald A. Thomas, and Mary Ellen Weber deployed the seventh Tracking Data and Relay Satellite (TDRS-G). They also completed a number of experiments over the course of their 8 days in space.

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