rufey writes "An article over at Space.com mentions two new tools that Space Shuttle Discovery will have aboard during its upcoming flight, designated STS-121, scheduled to lift off on July 1, 2006. One tool is for tile repair. The other tool is a 28-foot-long cable that would be used to connect an avionics bay located on the mid-deck with the flight-deck controls. The cable enables flight controllers on the ground to land the Shuttle completely by remote control, including the ability to lower the landing gear. The remote control landing would be used in the case where the Shuttle was damaged to the point that it would be too risky to land it with humans aboard, but could be landed without humans aboard in an attempt to save the vehicle. The astronauts would take refuge on the ISS while mission control in Houston attempt to land a damaged Shuttle."
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