Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cracked Shuttle Tile & Damage Near Window Spotted

A ceramic insert protruding near one of shuttle Endeavour's cockpit windows and a cracked tile on top of its crew cabin are being analyzed by NASA engineers but will not require focused inspections, a senior NASA manager said today.

NASA's damage assessment team briefed mission managers today and recommended against taking time during Endeavour's stay at the station to do a focused inspection on any "areas of interest" found during extensive inspections of the shuttle's heat shield as well as launch imagery and high-resolution photos taken during Endeavour's approach to the station late Tuesday.

The small ceramic insert was found protruding from the area surrounding Endeavour's cockpit window No. 2, which is located in from of the commander's seat on the flight deck of the orbiter. Engineers now are performing a transport analysis to determine whether the insert might strike a critical area of the orbiter if it was dislodged during atmospheric reentry and landing.

NASA Deputy Shuttle Program Manager LeRoy Cain, chairman of NASA's Mission Management Team, said engineers are not certain the insert would fall away from the window. In fact, it withstood a more severe vibration environment during launch than it will encounter during atmospheric reentry and landing.

If engineers recommend any action, Endeavour mission specialists Bob Behnken and Nicholas Patrick could remove the insert during one of three spacewalks planned during the shuttle's stay at the station.

Engineers also are looking at a cracked tile on the roof of the shuttle's crew cabin. The crack had been repaired with an RTV -- Room Temperature Vulcanizing - silicone. But the RTV can be seen leaching up through the crack, a sign the repair has failed.

A transport analysis is being done to determine where any dislodged tile from that area might travel, and whether an critical area of the shuttle orbiter might be damaged.

Cain said it is unlikely engineers would recommend spacewalking repairs to the cracked tile. Such an effort likely would introduce more risk than NASA would be attempting to mitigate.

The continuing analyses are expected to be completed with the next 48 to 72 hours.

Endeavour's astronauts are scheduled to remain at the station through Feb. 18 The three spacewalks are scheduled to begin on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Endeavour and its six astronauts are due back to Kennedy Space Center at 10:01 p.m. Feb. 20.


Anonymous said...

Which one of the $50 an hour "shuttle tech" crackheads stole the glue that was supposed to adhear these? Or was one of them trying to sniff it? Sure will be glad when this prime example of corporate welfare is finally over. I distinctly recall all of the belly aching coming from "shuttle techs" over the "bailout" of G.M. and how G.M. employees made far too much money for the job they did- hypocrites, who is crying for a bailout now? Boohoo, cry me a river. No job has guaranteed retirement for nearly 40 years, get used to it and go find a real job. And quit all of the whinning until you do, please, it is SOOO unbecoming for you overpaid undereducated nitwits...

Anonymous said...

I get so tired of reading this crap! I am one of the ones that work here. I do work, I enjoy my job and I don't make a lot like the others. I can't speak for the others only for myself, to say that a lot of the people who post negative things needs to step back and realize that the words they say do hurt! I will be out of my current position come the end of the contract, but I know who holds my future and thank God that its not up to the people who don't care and write such awful things! Next time you post - remember the others, PLEASE!!!! Florida Today should be ashamed, letting this kind of stuff go on!

Anonymous said...

Overpaid undereducated nitwits? If you hadn't already proven who's lacking education with your phenomenal spelling and grammar (dis)abilities, you sure nailed your coffin shut with that last line.

Anonymous said...

OMG! You would be uneducated for saying bad things about your neighbors, and you're not getting paid for it, Ha!

Karly Colin said...

Your article writing is genuinely I enjoy reading your article this post is fantastic & so amazing I really appreciate to you thanks for sharing this post.

Tiles repair companies