Feeds

NASA delays decision over Shuttle repair

Weighing up risks

Top three mobile application threats

NASA has put off making a decision about repairing a hole in the insulation under the space shuttle's wing until tomorrow, according to reports.

If the repair is needed, the fix will take place on the next spacewalk, slated for Saturday.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the team aboard Endeavour asked mission control whether another spacewalk was likely. Commander Scott Kelly was told: "We have no idea which way the wind is blowing at the moment."

The gash in the thermal tiles is roughly three and half inches long, by two inches wide. In one area, a one inch wide strip, the tile has been cut right through, exposing a part of the thermal fabric that covers the shuttle's frame.

The aluminium frame cannot get hotter than 350 degrees, NASA says. Simulations suggest it will heat to around 325 degrees, with the worst of the heat of re-entry skipping over the "wound".

Initial tests suggest a repair will not be needed, but this is clearly not an decision NASA can afford to get wrong. Although engineers are not worried about another catastrophic failure, as with Columbia, they are worried that over heating the area could mean long and expensive repairs once the shuttle is back on the ground.

NASA would prefer to avoid the risk of another spacewalk if it is not absolutely necessary. Leaving a spacecraft in orbit is not a safe thing to do, after all. But concerns are probably heightened, especially after the latest spacewalk was cut short when one of the astronauts noticed a two inch gash in his glove.

NASA said Rick Mastacchio was never in any danger, since only the glove's top two layers (of five) had been torn. But the reason for the tear is not clear: it could be sharp edges on the space station, but because it is the second torn glove in the last three missions, and managers are worried the suits might be showing signs of age.

Those in charge of planning the spacewalks said they would prefer not to have the team take another jaunt outside until they know why the glove tore. But the big boss, John Shannon, said he'd have no hesitation in ordering astronauts out the airlock if a repair is needed. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.