NASA's Space Shuttle Program: The 'Columbia' Tragedy, the 'Discovery' Mission, and the Future of the Shuttle [Updated January 4, 2006] [open pdf - 42KB]
"On August 9, 2005, the space shuttle 'Discovery' successfully completed the first of two 'Return to Flight' (RTF) missions -- STS [Space Transportation System]-114. It was the first shuttle launch since the February 1, 2003, 'Columbia' tragedy. NASA announced on July 27, 2005, the day after STS-114's launch, that a second RTF mission would be indefinitely postponed because of a problem that occurred during 'Discovery's' launch that is similar to what led to the loss of 'Columbia'. The next launch is currently expected some time in 2006. This report discusses the 'Columbia' tragedy, the 'Discovery' mission, and issues for Congress regarding the future of the shuttle. For more information, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Issue Brief IB93062, 'Space Launce [sic] Vehicles: Government Activities, Commercial Competition, and Satellite Exports', by Marcia S. Smith."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21408
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/