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ExoLance
Endeavour cleared for reentry
Posted: Sun, May 22, 2011, 7:56 AM ET (1156 GMT)
STS-134: image of damaged tile (NASA) Shuttle managers announced Saturday they have cleared the shuttle Endeavour for a return to Earth at the end of this month after concluding a damaged tile on the orbiter was not a concern. Astronauts on Saturday used a boom to study damage to a tile on the underside of the orbiter spotted when the shuttle arrived at the International Space Station on Wednesday. Engineers used the detailed information on the size and depth of the gouge in the tile to run computer models to see how it would affect the shuttle upon reentry. NASA officials said Saturday that the tile damage would not threaten the safety of the orbiter during reentry, and thus there was no need to repare the gouge while in orbit. Endeavour remains docked to the ISS, and is scheduled to return to Earth at the end of its final mission on June 1.
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