Mission Control Looking To See If Astronauts Need To Make Shuttle Repairs - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

08/01/05 - Cape Canaveral, FL

Mission Control Looking To See If Astronauts Need To Make Shuttle Repairs

NASA may have two astronauts make repairs on the shuttle Discovery's belly.

The problem is a couple of short strips of dangling fabric. The glitch apparently resulted from accidental slippage of ceramic-fiber cloth used to fill the thin gaps between thermal tiles that deflect heat.

Some engineers worry the problem could trigger potentially treacherous overheating during re-entry.

No decision has been made on a possible repair. It will be Monday before analysis is complete and mission managers decide whether to have the crew's two spacewalkers cut or pull the two hanging strips.

Such a spacewalking feat would be a first. In 24 years of shuttle flight, astronauts have never ventured beneath their spacecraft in orbit. And they've made few repairs to their ship.

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