Feeds

NASA examining Shuttle's dings, extending mission

All go up on the space station

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Mission controllers at NASA are inspecting some damage to the shuttle Endeavour's heat shield sustained during the "flawless" launch last week.

Before docking with the International Space Station (ISS), the shuttle performed a now-routine flip to allow the ground crew at mission control to inspect the craft for damage. The eagle-eyed boffins spotted five dings in the insulating tiles.

Damage to Endeavour's heat shield. Credit: NASA

Damage to Endeavour's heat shield. Credit: NASA

Four of the five have been deemed unlikely to pose a threat to the shuttle during re-entry, but one is suspect. Now Endeavour's crew is taking a closer look to determine the exact size of the void. This data will be used to work out whether or not the shuttle can withstand the furious heat of reentry without undergoing repairs.

NASA says nine pieces of foam broke away from the fuel tanks as the shuttle launched. Managers think one of these may have hit the tiles as it fell away, causing the damage.

NASA has also elected to extend Endeavour's mission to 14 days, only possible because the shuttle has been drawing power from the space station for the last five days.

The extra time means the crew will be able to add a fourth spacewalk to their schedule (not including any possible excursion for repairs). The astronauts will install equipment used to stow the Orbiter Boom Sensor System at the station between shuttle flights.

Mission specialists Rick Mastracchio and Dave Williams are scheduled to take the second space walk of the mission today (10:30am, CDT), during which they will replace a control moment gyroscope that was shut down when it failed in October last year. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.