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Astronauts fix thermal blanket on Atlantis


Space Shuttle Atlantis

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Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis is one of the fleet of space shuttles belonging to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was the fourth operational shuttle built. Following the destruction of Columbia, it is one of the three fully operational shuttles remaining in the fleet. The other two are Discovery and Endeavour. After it completes STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope service mission, Atlantis is scheduled to be the first shuttle retired from the fleet.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Astronauts on NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis have repaired a 4 inch tear in the shuttle's Thermal Protection System (TPS).

An astronaut repairing the tear in the TPS on Atlantis.

At 1:00 p.m. ET astronauts began their third spacewalk to repair the tear by using medical staples to seal the torn area. Astronauts tucked the material back into place and then stapled up the seams where the material was torn.

But the repair did not go without flaws. Astronauts repairing the tear say that the tear line was "higher than expected," according to radio transmissions heard live on NASA TV. Astronauts also report that the area where the tear was present is "well worn away" and because of that, no staples were able to be placed on the top side of the blanket near the top of the tear, leaving a small "gap" between the seams.

Two rows of staples were placed along the tear to hold the blanket in place.

Atlantis received the 4 inch tear on its TPS on one of the Orbital Maneuvering System pods near the thrusters during take-off on June 8.

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.