The Space Shuttle Discovery returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 22 August, carrying the second expedition crew from the International Space Station (ISS).


The crew's return to Earth came as the ISS faces more criticism from the US General Accounting Office (GAO), accusing NASA of gross mismanagement over its attempts to develop a propulsion module.

The STS 105 mission, launched on 10 August, delivered the third expedition crew to the station. This crew will return in November.

Two EVAs were conducted during the mission, to attach a 635kg (1,400lb) ammonia coolant canister and experiment trays holding 750 science experiments. They also fixed equipment and experiments including cables on the exterior of the Destiny laboratory module, which will provide back-up power for the central truss segment that will be launched next year.

Meanwhile, the GAO says that NASA ignored concerns and "mishandled yet another project costing American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars" in its development of a propulsion module for the station.

The module was deemed necessary in 1997 in case Russia failed to meet its delivery deadlines. Boeing was contracted to design the module, only to be told to stop work last year when NASA adopted another design which was cancelled a year later.

Source: Flight International