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Heat Shield Survey Continuing
Tue, 12 May 2009 07:19:51 PM GMT
The inspection of the shuttle's heat shield is continuing. Today's mission status briefing with Lead Flight Director Tony Ceccaci is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. EDT on NASA TV. Afterward, NASA TV will air the ISS Progress 33 docking to the International Space Station, expected at 3:23 p.m. The post-MMT briefing with MMT Chair Leroy Cain is set for 5 p.m.
The Atlantis astronauts have uncovered a long stretch of nicks on their space shuttle, the result of launch debris.
They were inspecting their ship Tuesday for signs of launch damage when they came across the nicks. Mission Control informed the crew that it's a 21-inch stretch of nicks over four to five thermal tiles on the right side of Atlantis. The damage is where the right wing joins the fuselage.
Originally posted by ExPostFacto
UFO disclosure is starting to occur across governments of the world
Did I miss something? Is this a set up mission? God I hope not but after reading this forum and information that is leaked through various sources I do tend to always question the seemingly circumstantial events that lead to something larger. I hope my gut is wrong on this.
Originally posted by bismarcksea
Ruh oh.....Guess its a GOOD thing they have a backup shuttle on standby!
With space shuttle Atlantis on its way to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, that leaves one shuttle, Endeavour, at the ready on the other launch pad here.
And that's where everybody at NASA wants it to stay.
"We have high confidence that we're just having that thing over on pad B to make it look nice," said mission flight director Tony Ceccaci.
Endeavour is far more than a postcard picture -- it's on standby in case something goes seriously wrong with the Atlantis mission. For example, NASA has estimated there's a 1-in-221 chance the shuttle could be struck and crippled by orbiting space debris.
Originally posted by timewalker
It is time to end the shuttles. They cannot seem to get off the ground without damage to the vehicle. I wonder why this seems to be such an issue over the last few years and not so much in the previous decades. Good thing a spare is ready to go. Just a scratch boys pretty sure you will make it ????????
It is too bad that they did not think much ahead and it will be at least five years before the Orion class is ready.
Reminds me of my GM car with its broken window motors and electrical malfunctions. No wonder they are going out of business. American engineering at its best.
[edit on 12-5-2009 by timewalker]
Astronauts onboard Atlantis have discovered a 21-inch scratch on the starboard side of the shuttle, the result of debris that hit the shuttle 104 seconds into launch.
They uncovered the damage during a thorough examination of Atlantis' thermal-protection system that surveyed the shuttle's wings, nose and underbelly.
The area in question is where the wing meets the underbelly on the orbiter's right side. The scratch stretches across four thermal tiles.
At a news conference this afternoon, lead flight director Tony Ceccacci said initial reports are that the scratches do not appear to be significant.
"To my untrained eye, I would think they are minor but, again, let those folks look at it," he said, referring to tile experts.
Imagery will be downlinked tonight and NASA will have a full report Wednesday. The astronauts initially had trouble downloading the best photos from the external tank camera.
Full-Scale Rescue Mission Ready if Needed
But the mission is also the riskiest one ever attempted by the space program.
Not only could debris hit the orbiter during launch, which was what happened to Columbia, micro-meteorites could imperil the shuttle while the astronauts fix Hubble.
Hubble orbits about 350 miles above Earth, in an area with a higher density of debris. Two satellites collided over Siberia earlier this year, which has increased the risk even more, as junk from that collision drifts lower.
As soon as Atlantis fixes Hubble, and releases it back into orbit, it will immediately maneuver to a lower altitude to reduce the chances of getting hit by space junk.
The most dramatic step NASA has taken to reduce risk is the preparation of a full-scale rescue mission.
In the event that Atlantis sustains damages the crew cannot repair, a second space shuttle, Endeavor, is standing by on another launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center to rescue crew members.
STS 400 can be ready in three days if a rescue is necessary.