NASA: Discovery appears safe to return to Earth
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Final findings will not be available for several days as a team of 200 experts study all video and stills footage taken of the shuttle during launch, and on approach to the International Space Station (ISS), with which Discovery docked earlier today.
Images from new cameras have revealed that a section of foam weighing some 250 g fell away from the external fuel tank during launch, but did not strike the Orbiter. However, NASA has announced the grounding of all further planned Shuttle launches until they have a firm understanding of why the foam comes away, and what to do about it.
As part of the check for damage the crew of Discovery used a laser-scanner on the robotic arm to inspect the craft's wing leading-edges and nosecone. The belly of the Orbiter will be checked later this week.
In a first, the Shuttle also performed a slow back-flip in some 180 m from the ISS enabling the two-man crew of the space station to take high-resolution images of the underside of the Orbiter.
- "NASA Says Discovery Looks OK to Fly Home" — , July 28, 2005
- "STS-114 MCC Status Report #05" — , July 28, 2005
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