Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shuttle Mission Extended

via MSNBC.

Shuttle Atlantis has arrived at the ISS and will stay an additional two days in order to attempt to repair a damaged thermal blanket on the shuttle's main engines that was discovered Saturday on the after launch inspection the oribiter now makes because of the Columbia tragedy.

"Engineers didn’t think the intense heat when the shuttle re-enters Earth’s atmosphere could burn through the graphite structure underneath the blanket, but they worried it might cause some damage that would require repairs on the ground."

Meanwhile, despite some scheduling issues caused by overloaded station gyroscopes, the first 6 1/2 hour spacewalk has placed the 35,000 pound truss segment that will provide additional power capability to the station. Two more spacewalks are planned for ISS construction, and one more might be needed for the shuttle repairs as well.

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