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The astronauts will try out the repair kits on deliberately broken samples of thermal tiles and panels. They will practice working with goo and other patching materials and different types of brushes, putty knives and a caulking gun.
They also will spend their first full day in space using a remote-control, 50-foot boom to inspect the shuttle's most vulnerable areas — the wings and nose cap — for any cracks and holes.
If any serious damage is found, NASA will have to choose between attempting repairs or, more likely, moving the shuttle crew into the space station for at least a month to await rescue by space shuttle Atlantis, which is already being readied for liftoff.