NASA checking damage to space shuttle heat tiles - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

NASA checking damage to space shuttle heat tiles

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA is taking a close look at some damage to the black thermal tiles on the belly of space shuttle Endeavour.

The gouges and nicks were spotted in photos taken right before Endeavour docked with the International Space Station on Wednesday. The shuttle did a slow backflip so space station cameras could capture any signs of launch damage.

NASA official LeRoy Cain says there's no cause for concern. He says they will continue to assess the damage. If needed, the astronauts will use a boom to make a closer inspection this weekend.

The space agency has checked for damage to the shuttle's delicate heat shield ever since the 2003 Columbia disaster. A slab of fuel tank foam knocked a hole in Columbia's wing which led to its destruction during re-entry.

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