NASA Decides: Less Drama on Future Shuttle Missions

Sep 10, 2007 12:17pm

Gina Sunseri of our staff has sent this note from Houston: NASA has decided to add a fifth spacewalk to the next shuttle mission so they can practice repairing a hole in the shuttle’s heat shield should they ever encounter a problem like the one on last month’s mission.  Spacewalking astronauts will take a caulk gun (called a T-RAD) out on a spacewalk and see if they can repair damage on orbit.   Discovery will carry up damaged tiles in its payload bay for the astronauts to practice repairing with the thermal caulk. A T-RAD (short for TPS Repair Ablator Dispenser; TPS is short for Thermal Protection System) was on board Endeavour last month, but it had never been tested.     The crew that is flying on the next mission will be commanded by the ebullient and highly decorated Desert Storm veteran Commander Pam Melroy, the second woman to command a space shuttle flight.   Discovery is scheduled for launch Tuesday, October 23rd at 11:38am EDT.
(NASA image: STS-118 landing at the Kennedy Space Center on Aug. 21.)

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