Atlantis crew wrap heatshield inspection
Shuttle robot arm exits world stage
The crew of space shuttle Atlantis have wrapped an inspection of the spacecraft's thermal protection system, ahead of the veteran spaceplane's planned return to Kennedy Space Center on Thursday morning.
NASA reports: "They used the 50-foot long Orbiter Boom Sensor System to conduct a high fidelity, three-dimensional scan of areas of the shuttle that experience the highest heating during entry - the wing leading edges and nose cap. Managers and engineers in Mission Control will review the data today and tomorrow to validate the heat shield’s integrity."
Since every shuttle report now has to contain the word "final" at least once, the agency adds: "This marks the final use of the shuttle’s robotic arm, dating back to its inaugural flight on the shuttle Challenger in April 1983 on the STS-7 mission, operated by the first American woman to fly in space, Sally Ride."
Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station earlier today, and here's NASA's video round-up of the departure:
NASA's main space shuttle section is here. ®
Hoping for a landing in CA
After watching them launch on July 8 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I would love to watch them land at Edwards Air Force Base in California, just because I could drive to watch the landing.
But that'll only happen if the weather in Florida gets to bad for landing... Nothing personal to people in Florida...
Supposedly They Have...
...a tube of supergoop to fill small voids.
According to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOMJdTUnP0M the repair has been tested in space, but never used.
Found another use of the arm...
So, 4 hours after announcing that STS-7 was the first use of the arm, they found some more records holding up the corner of a wobbly desk or something and posted this:
This marks the final use of the shuttle’s robotic arm, dating back to its inaugural flight on the shuttle Columbia in October 1981on the STS-2 mission, operated by Commander Richard Truly and Pilot Joe Engle for approximately 10 hours of checkout operations. Canadarm deployed and retrieved its first payload, the Plasma Diagnostic Package, on Columbia's STS-3 mission of Commander Jack Lousma and Pilot Gordon Fullerton.