21 Inch 'Ding' Reportedly Took Place 104 Seconds Into
So far, so good... unless you count the fact that Atlantis took
a bit of a hit less than two minutes into Monday's launch, while
starting its mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Atlantis’ crew completed a planned survey of the shuttle
heat shielding Tuesday, noting a few dings in tiles that experts
will continue to analyze. Flight Director Tony Ceccacci said that
upon an initial look, damage found during the inspection appeared
to be minor and likely not a concern, but he said experts would
analyze it as is normal to be certain the shuttle’s heat
shielding is in good shape. The damage included small dings along
an area of about 21 inches spanning four of the shuttle’s
thermal tiles located on the starboard side of the spacecraft where
the wing blends into the forward fuselage.
Throughout the day, the crew prepared for Wednesday’s
rendezvous with the Hubble Space Telescope. The day's activities
included the check out of tools they will use during the rendezvous
with the telescope. The rendezvous is scheduled to occur at 7:41
a.m. Wednesday (OK, Space Geeks... raise your hand if you have your
alarm set to watch this... as I try to type this with one hand
The crew members also checked out spacesuits they will use
during the mission’s five scheduled spacewalks.