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ExoLance
Initial inspection finds no shuttle damage
Posted: Thu, Oct 25, 2007, 7:25 AM ET (1125 GMT)
STS-120: logo (NASA) An inspection of the exterior of the shuttle Discovery on Wednesday turned up no evidence of damage to the orbiter, while mission managers said very little foam fell off the external tank during Tuesday's launch. The STS-120 crew performed the inspection during the first full day on orbit, and found no evidence of any damage to the orbiter's tiles or panels caused by impacts with debris during launch. Of particular concern were the panels on the leading edge of the wings, after engineers recommended before the launch that some panels be replaced because of evidence of degradation of an outer coating; the panels appeared to be in normal condition on Wednesday. Shuttle managers said that only about a half-dozen chunks of foam fell off the shuttle's external tank during launch, all of which taking place late enough during the ascent to not post a risk to the orbiter. Discovery is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Thursday morning and kick off an ambitious mission there, installing a new node module and moving a solar panel array.
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