Shuttle 'damaged' on lift-off

Endeavour 'gouged' by a piece of ice shortly after take-off.

    The problem was detected after ISS crew members photographed the shuttle's underside [EPA]

    An analysis of images taken on Wednesday during lift-off in Cape Canaveral, in Florida, showed that the shuttle's underbelly was hit by a piece of ice, Shannon said.
     
    "What this means, I don't know at this point," he said.
     
    Space walk
     
    The possible damage was detected on Friday after ISS crew members photographed the shuttle's underside during its approach to the station.
     
    On Sunday, astronauts are due to use a camera attached to a robotic arm to closely inspect the area of concern, Shannon said.
     
    Astronauts will carry out a space walk to patch up the hole if Nasa decides the gash threatens Endeavour's safety during its return to Earth.
     
    Shannon said that other shuttles have returned safely with worse damage.
     
    "In the past, we didn't even know we had damage and we flew back home," he said.

    But since the Columbia shuttle crash in February 2003, Nasa has carefully inspected protective thermal tiles.
     
    Columbia's heat shield was pierced by a piece of insulating foam that from its external fuel tank, causing the shuttle to catch fire as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.
     
    The shuttle exploded killing seven astronauts.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The Victorian Muslims of Britain

    The Victorian Muslims of Britain

    The stories of the British aristocrats who converted to Islam.

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    A photojournalist describes how she posed as a prostitute to follow the trade in human flesh.

    India's shocking farmer suicide epidemic

    India's shocking farmer suicide epidemic

    Falling into a debt-trap and besieged by bad weather, thousands of farmers are taking their own lives each year.