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Wed, May 13, 2009

Atlantis Gets 'Dinged' On Launch

21 Inch 'Ding' Reportedly Took Place 104 Seconds Into Lift-Off

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 aloft...)

The crew members also checked out spacesuits they will use during the mission’s five scheduled spacewalks.



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