Thursday, November 19, 2009

Atlantis won't require "focused" inspection

Atlantis mission managers have ruled out the need for a more detailed, or "focused," inspection of the orbiter's heat shields on Friday.

The Flight Day 4 Execute Package sent to the crew this morning carried the positive news.

"Good morning Atlantis - congrats on a beautiful rendezvous and docking! We all look forward to the first EVA of the mission today. And, NO FOCUSED INSPECTION is required!"

Analysts have been reviewing images of the shuttle since its 2:28 p.m. Monday launch from Kennedy Space Center, looking for any evidence that debris such as ice or foam falling from the external tank could have struck the orbiter.

Atlantis also performed a 360-degree backflip as it approached the station for docking on Wednesday, exposing its belly for a round of high-resolution photos taken by station astronauts.

Mission managers are reworking Friday's Flight Day 5 activities to take advantage of the time that had been set aside for the focused inspection if it was needed.

A standard final heat shield inspection will be performed after Atlantis undocks from the station next week.

No comments: