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NASA

Minor Damage Found On Space Shuttle 233

The BBC is reporting on minor damage to the space shuttle Atlantis revealed by a 10-hour inspection in orbit. On the shuttle's right side, near where the wing joins the body, inspection revealed a 21" (53cm) line of chips in the tiles that make up the vehicle's heat shield. "...more analysis by engineers would determine whether a 'focused inspection' was needed in that specific area. If so, astronauts would use sensors to determine the exact depth of the damage to the heat shield tiles. NASA has placed the space shuttle Endeavour on stand-by to rescue the crew of Atlantis if they are endangered." The crew couldn't shelter on the ISS in case of trouble, because their orbit is higher and on a different inclination.

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