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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Feb 27, 2007 19:44:23 GMT -6
Hail storm dings space shuttle
The external tank on the space shuttle Atlantis shows the damage caused by a hail storm at the kenndy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Pieces of hail from a passing thunderstorm caused divots in a section of space shuttle Atlantis' external tank, but NASA managers didn't know Tuesday morning whether the damage was severe enough to postpone next month's launch. (AP/ NASA)
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Feb 28, 2007 16:41:31 GMT -6
Space Shuttle Atlantis to Roll Back to VAB
NASA officials have announced that Space Shuttle Atlantis will roll back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for repair after Monday's hail storm.
"This constitutes the worst damage from hail that we have seen on external tank foam," said Wayne Hale, manager of the Space Shuttle Program.
Hale said that a number of areas need to be repaired and are not accessible at the launch pad.
The vehicle's slow journey back to the Vehicle Assembly Building will take place over the weekend or early next week. This will give the technicians an opportunity to give the space shuttle an intensive look at the damage and evaluate what it will take to repair it.
"It will be about a month before we can talk about heading back to the launch posture," said Hale, "given the repair schedule and the ISS requirements.
The next launch window opportunity opens in late April and extends out to the later part of May.