Dings on Shuttle Could Need Another Look

A series of small dings on space shuttle Atlantis could mean a more focused inspection of the thermal protection tile in the next few days. Jack Williams reports.

NASA officials say the damage might have occurred shortly after launch near where the right wing meets the fuselage. This is lead flight director Tony Ceccacci.

"We did see probably about 21-inches in all, but four tiles with some dings in them. To me, I'm not the tile expert in that, but they looked very minor, but we're going to let the folks go ahead and take a look at it, follow the standard process and determine what we need to do next on those."

Tomorrow at around noon Houston time, Atlantis will grab the Hubble Space Telescope in a risky maneuver to repair and upgrade the
orbiting observatory. Ceccacci says he's not worried.  

"We've been there and  we've done this before. We have really high confidence. We practice this a bunch and the team is really, the erformance level and stuff, we've been doing a great job, so basically it's your standard, let's just follow the profile that we've put together and get it. I don't have any worries, but, the standard. We'll be ready for anything that does come up."

It's been seven years since the last Hubble servicing mission and this will be the last for the aging space telescope.  

For more information on the shuttle mission, vist the NASA web site.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...