JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Houston (AP) -- Shuttle astronauts on board the international space station are preparing for another excursion outside today.
This time they'll be testing a caulking gun and goo on some extra thermal protection tiles that have been deliberately damaged. NASA wants to see how well the patching material works in case it's ever needed for a real repair on the tiles, which are vital to the shuttle's fiery re-entry.
The potential fix was developed after the 2003 Columbia disaster, when the shuttle was destroyed during re-entry because of a hole in the wing. NASA wants the test results back before the Atlantis repair mission to the Hubble Telescope in August. If the shuttle were to be damaged on takeoff, it would not be able to use the space station as a repair refuge because the two craft won't be in the same orbit.
This fourth spacewalk comes just past the midway mark in Endeavour's 16-day mission.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to email@example.com. Please provide detailed information.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.