The View from Space
By Correspondent John Holliman
(CNN) -- A space traffic jam was just avoided this week.
Shuttle Endeavour, which had been docked with the Mir space
station, unhooked on Thursday, about a half hour after the
Russian space agency launched a Soyuz rocket with three new
crew members for the space station.
The Soyuz will dock with Mir this weekend as the shuttle is
scheduled to land at the Kennedy Space Center. Astronaut
Dave Wolf, who has been away from the planet for the past
four and a half months, is looking forward to a Saturday
night dinner of pizza, a beverage (known to be cold beer) and
some time with his girlfriend. I've talked to astronauts who
lived on Mir who say the hardest part of the trip was being
away from people they love for months at a time.
At CNN Interactive we're planning to make 1998 the year of
space coverage for you. Once a week I'll stop by to update
you on what we expect to happen over the next few days, and
we can watch together to see if what we expect actually
Coming up on February 10, the Hubble Space Telescope Science
Institute will show us what it looks like when a supernova
that has spewed tons of debris into space sees that debris
begin to hit the rings around the dying star. Folks at the
institute say you won't believe what the telescope has found,
but it lights up the night sky around supernova 1997-A.
The space shuttle will stay on the ground for a few months
this year, preparing for the first launches of U.S. hardware
to the international space station. The plan as of now is for
the first piece of station hardware, which looks like the
central core of Mir, to be launched from Baikonur in June,
with the first U.S. piece, called Node 1, to be launched on
the shuttle in early July. The unofficial launch date is July
9, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the shuttle in orbit on
July 4. From June onward, there will be pieces of
space station going to orbit and getting connected by
spacewalking astronauts and cosmonauts through 2002.
We'll keep you posted on all of this. If you have
suggestions for things we can do to improve our coverage, let
John Holliman is the network's national assignment reporter based in CNN's headquarters
in Atlanta. Holliman was instrumental in CNN's coverage of the Persian Gulf War. He
and colleagues, Peter Arnett and Bernard Shaw, were the only three journalists reporting
from Baghdad on Jan. 16, 1991, the evening the allied air attack began Iraq's capital.
Holliman played a critical role in the CNN coverage of the Persian Gulf crisis, which won
numerous awards, including a Nationa Headliner Award, the George Foster Peabody
Award and a Golden Microphone. During the summer of 1997, Holliman most recently
served as the network's lead reporter for the Pathfinder mission to Mars. He has
reported as the space vehicle Pathfinder arrived on Mars and beamed live video of the
planet's surface back to earth.