Some NASA Engineers Concerned About Shuttle Repairs

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) -- Some NASA engineers don't agree with the decision to skip some wing repairs on the shuttle Discovery before next week's flight -- but the commander of the shuttle mission says she and the crew are OK with it.

Pamela Melroy says the crew members are "totally confident" that the panels on the shuttle's wings that serve as a heat barrier are ready to protect them on the way home.

The concern is that three of the 44 panels have degraded. And half of the engineers who took part in the launch review disagreed with the decision to skip the repairs. Still, senior managers concluded that it was an "acceptable risk."

The countdown begins tomorrow toward a Tuesday morning liftoff. The two-week mission will include delivery of a new pressurized compartment to the international space station.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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