Feeds

NASA examining Shuttle's dings, extending mission

All go up on the space station

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.