It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Mission managers concluded earlier this week that a deep gouge on Endeavour's belly posed no Columbia-like threat to the seven crew members during re-entry and also would not lead to lengthy postflight shuttle repairs.
For several days, managers had considered sending two astronauts out with black protective paint and untested goo to patch the 3 1/2-inch-long, 2-inch-wide gouge that dug all the way through the thermal tiles.
The gouge was caused by debris that broke off a bracket on Endeavour's external fuel tank during liftoff Aug. 8. Engineers still do not know whether it was foam insulation, ice or a combination of both. In any case, NASA said it will not launch another shuttle until the longtime troublesome brackets are fixed.