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Shuttle pad damaged during launch
Posted: Tue, Jun 3, 2008, 8:03 AM ET (1203 GMT)
STS-124: flame trench damage (NASA/KSC) The launch pad used for Saturday's launch of the space shuttle Discovery sustained "significant" damage during liftoff, although NASA officials said they believed the damage could be repaired in time for the next mission this October. A large section of concrete lining the pad's flame trench blew out during launch, scattering chunks of debris around the launch site, all the way to a security fence several hundred meters away. None of the debris damaged the shuttle. What caused the damage to the flame trench, the worst in the history of the shuttle program, is unclear. Both pad 39A and 39B have to be in working order for the next launch, a Hubble Space Telescope repair mission, since a rescue shuttle would be prepared on the other pad.
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