Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Travel News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

NASA still mulling shuttle repair spacewalk

The damage took place when a piece of debris slammed the shuttle's underbelly, creating the 8.75 by 5.0 centimeter (3.5 by 2.0 inch) gouge near a landing gear's hatch.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 13, 2007
A pair of spacewalking astronauts replaced a broken gyroscope on the International Space Station on Monday as NASA continued to examine a gouge on shuttle Endeavour's heat shield.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is debating whether to use one of two remaining spacewalks to conduct unprecedented repairs to patch up damage on the shuttle, which has been docked to the station since August 10.

In the meantime, US astronaut Rick Mastracchio and Canadian colleague Dave Williams floated outside the ISS to replace the defective gyroscope, one of four devices controlling the orbiting laboratory's position.

It was the second spacewalk of the mission, which was extended by three days to 14 days to add a fourth spacewalk. The third spacewalk is scheduled to take place Wednesday, while the fourth would be conducted on August 17.

Astronauts used a camera on a robotic arm on Sunday to scan the shuttle for a closer look at the damage on Endeavour's underbelly.

The damage took place when a piece of debris slammed the shuttle's underbelly, creating the 8.75 by 5.0 centimeter (3.5 by 2.0 inch) gouge near a landing gear's hatch.

NASA officials said they were conducting simulations on Earth, applying extreme heat on a sample of shuttle shield that was purposely damaged to determine whether Endeavour can safely land despite its gash.

Officials said they would decide Wednesday whether an astronaut would need to conduct on-orbit repairs before Endeavour undocks from the ISS on August 20.

"If we have to do it, I feel fully confident that we could execute it with a minimum impact to the mission," shuttle mission manager John Shannon told reporters.

If repairs are needed, an astronaut would stand on a robotic arm to be positioned in front of the damaged thermal tile and apply material that would keep heat from penetrating the shuttle.

The astronaut could apply heat-reflecting black paint, a paste to fill in the hole, or a metal plate to completely cover the damaged thermal tile.

"All the astronauts on board have practiced on the ground the repair techniques, so we have no concern for the crew," Shannon said.

NASA has kept a close eye on the shuttle's heat shield on every mission since the Columbia disaster that killed seven astronauts in February 2003.

Columbia's heat shield was pierced by foam insulation that peeled off its external fuel tank during liftoff. The damage allowed hot gases to burn through the shuttle during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, destroying the orbiter.

Since then, NASA extensively films and photographs the shuttle during launch to detect any debris hitting the vessel. Astronauts also use robotic arms to scan the shuttle while on orbit.

A film of Endeavour's August 8 liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, shows a piece of foam -- possibly covered with ice -- hitting the shuttle's underbelly.

Endeavour is carrying seven astronauts, including 55-year-old teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan, on a mission to continue construction of the ISS.

During the first spacewalk on Saturday, Mastracchio and Williams installed a new truss segment to expand the station, whose construction NASA wants to complete by 2010, when it will retire its three-shuttle fleet.

The shuttle is scheduled to land on August 22.

Related Links
Shuttle at NASA
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Shuttle News at Space-Travel.Com

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

NASA May Repair Shuttle, Extends Station Mission Three Days
Washington (AFP) Aug 12, 2007
NASA specialists on Sunday began analyzing a gash in the shuttle Endeavour's heat shield to decide if it needs repair, and said it was adding three days to the mission to continue work on the International Space Station.

  • NASA Awards First Stage Contract For Ares Rockets
  • UC Experts Detail New Standard For Cleaner Transportation Fuels
  • Indigenous Cryogenic Stage Tested For Eight Minutes
  • Ecliptic Celebrates A Decade Of Successful RocketCam Launches

  • ILS to Launch Inmarsat Satellite On Proton Vehicle Next Spring
  • Russian Proton-M Rocket To Launch Japanese Telecoms Satellite
  • A Double Transfer At The Spaceport For The Next Two Ariane 5 Launchers
  • European Automated Space Truck Arrive At South American Spaceport

  • NASA still mulling shuttle repair spacewalk
  • NASA weighs repair to shuttle, extends mission by 3 days
  • Damage to Endeavour appears less serious
  • NASA to take close look at Endeavour shield damage

  • Astronauts prepare for first spacewalk of Endeavour mission
  • Astronauts To Conduct Study Of Bacterial Growth In Space
  • Progress Cargo Ship With Computer Equipment Docks With ISS
  • Progress 26 To Dock Sunday At Station

  • Undersea Mission Aids Development Of Self-Test For Stress And Fatigue
  • NASA Seeks Launch Logistics Help
  • Historic Phoenix Mars Mission Flies Actel RTAX-S Devices
  • Spaceport America Design Team Selected

  • China Trains Rescue Teams For Third Manned Space Program
  • Chinese Astronauts Begin Training For Spacewalk
  • China Prepares To Select New Taikonauts
  • Dongfanghong 4 Ready For More International Satellite Orders

  • Successful Jules Verne Rendezvous Simulation At ATV Control Centre
  • Robotic Einstein Wows Spanish Technology Fair
  • Robotic Ankle For Amputees Is Developed
  • iRobot Receives New Military Orders 14 PackBot Robots

  • Phoenix Adjusts Course Successfully For Journey To Mars
  • What Makes Mars Magnetic
  • Helping Phoenix Land
  • Brighter Skies Lifts Rover Spirit As MER-A Gets Active

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement