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Discovery Crew may Have to Repair Shuttle Before Re-Entry

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posted on Jul, 31 2005 @ 03:23 PM
NASA is now focused on "two bits of material" sticking up from Discovery's thermal tiles. The main question being asked is; Does this situation present an unacceptable risk of overheating when the shuttle returns to Earth?

Full Article Link

The space agency is working on plans for spacewalkers to fix the parts if engineers decide they pose a threat to the first shuttle mission since the 2003 Columbia accident, said Flight Director Paul Hill.

NASA managers already have deemed 90 percent of Discovery's heat shield able to withstand the tremendous forces and high heat of atmospheric re-entry on Aug. 8.

But NASA has discovered two protruding gap fillers, which is material used to fill any minute gaps between heat shield tiles. A decision about whether the crew will be asked to fix them is expected on Monday, Hill said.

"We have a team of folks working aggressively at options to go and make that gap filler safe if we decide it's an issue," said Hill at a news conference.

The protruding parts of Discovery's heat shield are not the result of debris impacts, which damaged Columbia's heat shield and caused it to break up over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

In my opinion.. Why are we still trying to get into orbit on 40 year old and some would say "failing" technology?

I can only imagine what goes through the minds of this shuttle crew now in space and awaiting instructions from NASA engineers on what actions to take, and for a true risk assessment of this situation. I am sure they are happy to be there and to have been able to participate in a real space mission. But now faced with similar risks as the last crew sent into orbit only to have their orbiter burn up on re-entry, it has got to be a bit un-nerving.

Lets all hope they can fix it if needed and return safely.

And perhaps then begin to look forward to a new future of space travel, and exploring new technologies to get us there.

[edit on 31-7-2005 by UM_Gazz]

posted on Aug, 1 2005 @ 05:53 PM
According to Drudge the astronauts are being ordered to fix the dangling strips.

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