Wed, Mar 12, 2008
Captured On Camera 10 Seconds Into Launch
Was it a bird... or perhaps a
Florida-sized mosquito? NASA engineers are fretting over a
mysterious, well, something that may have impacted the nose of the
shuttle Endeavour during its launch early Tuesday.
Officials wouldn't speculate on the nature of the curious debris
captured on cameras 10 seconds into launch, or whether it even
struck the shuttle.
"It looks like it's not coming from the orbiter, and you can't
really tell if it strikes the orbiter or not," flight director Mike
Moses told The Associated Press.
"I can't even begin to speculate on what it could be.
"We should let the experts do the math," Moses continued. "We
got some good video that at least shows it in multiple frames so
they'll be able to do a trajectory analysis to see where it came
Even if the debris did strike Endeavour's nose, it's not likely
to have done any significant damage due to the relatively slow
velocity of the shuttle at that point in its launch, Moses
Crewmembers onboard the orbiter spent Tuesday performing
inspections of the shuttle's heat shield, using a camera mounted on
the orbiter's robotic arm to sweep along the leading edges of
Endeavour's wings, as well as its nose cap and the orbiter's
underside. So far, nothing unusual has been noted.
More detailed images will be captured by cameras onboard the
International Space Station, as the shuttle approaches to dock with
the orbiting platform Wednesday night.
"By tomorrow night we should have a real good idea about the
state of the orbiter," Moses said.
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