Damaged Thermal Tile To Be Checked By NASA Shuttle Endeavour Crew

By on May 21, 2011 in Astronomy, Science, United States, World Comments

Damaged Thermal Tile of Endeavour’s underbelly
Image Credit: NASA

NASA instructed Endeavour‘s crew to focus their inspection at a damaged thermal tile in the space shuttle’s delicate heat shield on Saturday, May 21, 2011, as reported earlier by several international news sites.

Based on reports, the shuttle Endeavour astronauts will scrutinize the gouge on the shuttle’s underbelly using the shuttle’s robotic arm, a high resolution camera and a laser attached to a boom.

The damaged tile was reportedly spotted in photos snapped by the station crew before the Shuttle Endeavour linked up. The photos presented seven sites with dings or gouges, but only the size of a deck of cards located below the rear landing gear became the main concern.

LeRoy Cain, chairman of the shuttle mission management team said that, “There’s nothing alarming here and we’re not really concerned”. He also mentioned that the two-hour maneuver is being done with abundant caution and won’t cause any disruption for the Endeavour’s 16-day mission to the International Space Station.

The delicate tiles, based on reports, are part of an intricate heat protection system that keeps the shuttle, especially its bottom and edges, from burning up during its fiery re-entry into Earth‘s atmosphere.

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