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NASA not too worried about shuttle wing ding…

It looks like the space shuttle ATLANTIS was hit by some debris as it thundered up into orbit on Monday. An inspection with cameras mounted on the end of the robot arm yesterday revealed some damage to the thermal tiles along the front edge of the starboard wing…


However, detailed study of the images by NASA experts has suggested that the damage is quite superficial – the “scars” are quite shallow, and the tiles themselves are very thick and sturdy – and poses no threat to the orbiter during re-entry. And as NASA has gone so far as to say that there’s no need for an even more detailed inspection I think it’s fair to say that this isn’t causing and sleepless nights over there.

Today is the Big Day for the Atlantis crew. Well, the first Big Day! Today’s the day they rendezvous and dock with the Hubble Space Telescope and gently secure it in the shuttle’s payload bay in preparation for doing their Kwik Fit job on it during 5 complicated and risky spacewalks. In a few hours (hopefully before I have to go to work) we will see Hubble emerge from the darkness above the shuttle. A lot of people will be interested to see what sort of state it’s in – will it look all shiny and shipshape, or will it have been hit and damaged by impacts with space debris since it was last seen years ago?

We’ll know in a few hours. Come back here for pics, and don’t forget you can follow the mission live on NASA TV and it’s all over Twitter too.


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