Thu, Jul 06, 2006
...But Birds May Have Left A 'Mark'
Perhaps the best news of the space
shuttle Discovery's mission so far is that lengthy inspections by
both astronauts and ground teams have so far failed to turn up any
signs of damage from falling foam.
Discovery appears to be in tip-top shape as it moves closer to a
Thursday rendezvous with the International Space Station.
Engineers are now going over about 70 minutes worth of video
taken by astronauts using a special boom mounted on the shuttle's
robotic arm. Along with a laser, the video camera carefully
examined the entire space plane... focusing on the shuttle's nose
and leading edges.
There was some momentary concern about white blotches on the
edge of the left wing. They, however, turned out to be harmless --
one NASA official said they might have been bird droppings.
On this second return to flight mission, the crew will test new
methods of checking the shuttle for launch damage and will drop
German astronaut Thomas Reiter off for a six-month stay aboard the
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