Space shuttle launch is set for next week
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA will try to launch Discovery to the international space station next week, less than a month after the last shuttle mission.
Senior officials set Tuesday as the launch date following a two-day flight review that ended Wednesday. Hours later, the seven astronauts flew in from Houston.
Discovery and its crew will haul equipment and supplies to the space station, including a new treadmill named after Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert. Earlier this year, the TV comedian tried to get a future space station chamber named after him. NASA chose Tranquility instead — after the Apollo 11 moon base — and Colbert had to settle for the treadmill.
Much of the discussion during the review focused on the unusually large amount of foam insulation that came off the fuel tank during last month's launch of Endeavour.
2 killed in crash of military helicopter
LEADVILLE, Colo. (AP) — A military helicopter crashed Wednesday near the peak of Colorado's second-highest mountain, killing two people, injuring one and leaving another person missing, authorities said.
The Black Hawk helicopter from Kentucky's Fort Campbell was carrying out training exercises when it crashed about 400 feet from the top of 14,200-foot Mount Massive, according to the Lake County Sheriff's office and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The injured person was flown to a Denver hospital, while rescue teams searched for the missing person, said Sheriff's spokesman Max Duarte. The condition of the injured was not immediately known.
The helicopter was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and was conducting routine training, according to the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Judge throws out lawsuit against Army
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army on Wednesday won a court challenge to its plan to incinerate chemical weapons at storage sites around the country over objections from a watchdog group that says the practice releases toxic pollution.
A federal judge threw out the suit aimed at stopping the plan to destroy the stockpiles dating back as far as World War II, required under an international treaty, the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. More than half the United States' aging cache of 31,500 tons of nerve agents and mustard gas has been destroyed so far, with a 2017 congressional deadline for completion.
The Army conducted several environmental impact studies comparing different methods of destruction and concluded that incineration was the most safe and effective when explosive munitions are involved.
A watchdog organization called the Chemical Weapons Working Group, based in Berea, Ky., sued in 2003, arguing there are new alternative technologies for destruction.
Mom of former Palin fiance pleads guilty
PALMER, Alaska (AP) — The mother of the man former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol had planned on marrying has reached a plea deal in her drug case.
Sherry Johnston pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of possession with intent to deliver the painkiller OxyContin. Five other felony counts were dropped.
Johnston hugged her lawyer, Rex Butler, before she was escorted out of the courtroom and taken to a correctional facility where she'll be held until her Nov. 20 sentencing.
Although Johnston could receive 20 years in prison, her attorney and prosecutors agreed to a five-year sentence, with two years suspended, Butler said, considering the small quantities of drugs involved.
Sherry Johnston has two pain pumps implanted in her body to deliver medication because she suffers a rare condition involving scurvy and chronic pelvic pain from prior surgeries, Butler said. She was receiving professional pain relief treatment but the problems arose when her insurer refused to pay for the medication, he said.