Endeavour Heat Shields Damaged | News

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Endeavour Heat Shields Damaged

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Damaged heat shields on the Endeavour's underbelly have NASA engineers concerned about the health of the space shuttle.

The heat shields are designed to protect the craft when it re-enters the extreme temperatures of the earth's atmosphere.

Seven places on the shuttle were damaged during the launch on Monday- though engineers have already cleared 5 of those spots because they don't pose any significant threat.

The astronauts will take a closer look at the 2 remaining places tomorrow- and if those places are enough of a problem, they'll have to do what's called a focused inspection in space.

NASA takes any damage to those heat shields very seriously since they were a contributing factor to the Columbia Shuttle Disaster of 2003 which killed seven astronauts.

They have already said, though, that the damage to the Endeavour is not as severe as that to the Columbia- and they don't think it will pose a significant threat.

"I am not concerned about the damage here.  It's certainly not alarming and the team is not concerned about it," said LeRoy Cain, the project manager for the Endeavour.

They will reassess the situation this weekend.      






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