Slip-up reveals sensitive shuttle launch time
BY SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: April 1, 2002

  STS-107 Crew portrait
The crew of shuttle Columbia. Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramonn is at far right. Image: NASA/JSC.
 
NASA's awkward efforts to keep shuttle launch times secret were dealt a blow last week when one of its contractors posted on the internet a target launch window for the space agency's most sensitive upcoming mission.

Spacehab Inc., which provides NASA with shuttle cargo bay modules, disclosed the launch time for the July flight of Columbia carrying Ilan Ramon, who will become the first Israeli to fly in space. The launch time was available for at least four days on the company's website before it was deleted around noon EST Monday morning.

A Spacehab official said the information had appeared inadvertently and was removed from the web site as soon as the company was alerted to the problem.

NASA officials are attempting to implement new security measures that include keeping shuttle launch times and countdown events secret and not disclosing the astronauts' schedules in the last days before lift-off. The measures, they say, are to deter terrorist attacks.

Michael Braukus, a spokesman at the space agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters said it was the responsibility of NASA's field centers to inform the various contractors who work for the space agency about the plan for secrecy.

"A policy directive went out to all the NASA centers and all the points of contact with regard to NASA," he said "The information was to filter down to all the contractors as well."

The flight of an Israeli astronaut is considered a high profile target for terrorists and much of the increased security is rumored to have been put in place in readiness for this particular mission. Unlike the launch times for space station missions, which can be roughly calculated by computer software or simple subtraction, the launch window for Columbia's July mission should be easier for the space agency to keep secret.

The Unbroken Chain
Guenter Wendt's autobiography, The Unbroken Chain, is a ground-shaking, fumes in your nostrils account of the glory days of manned spaceflight.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Apollo 12 tribute DVD set

New! Featuring the jovial crew of Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and Alan Bean, the Apollo 12 mission was struck by lightning shortly after liftoff but proceeded on the second successful exploration voyage to the lunar surface. This three-disc DVD brings the mission to life with extraordinary detail.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Fallen Heroes special patch
This special 12-inch embroidered patch commemorates the U.S. astronauts who made the ultimate sacrifice, honoring the crews of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Women in Space
Women of Space: Cool Careers on the Final Frontier is for girls, young women, and anyone else interested in learning about exciting careers in space exploration. Includes CD-ROM.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
 Choose your store:
U.S.

Apollo 11 special patch
Special collectors' patch marking the 35th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing is now available.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Inside Apollo mission control
An insider's view of how Apollo flight controllers operated and just what they faced when events were crucial.
 Choose your store:
U.S.

The ultimate Apollo 11 DVD
This exceptional chronicle of the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission features new digital transfers of film and television coverage unmatched by any other.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Next ISS crew
Own a little piece of history with this official patch for the International Space Station's Expedition 11 crew. We'll ship yours today!
 Choose your store:
U.S.

Apollo patches
The Apollo Patch Collection: Includes all 12 Apollo mission patches plus the Apollo Program Patch. Save over 20% off the Individual price.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.