NASA's Statement on Foam Shedding From External Tank

July 28, 2005

NASA engineers are evaluating the loss of a large piece of insulation foam from the Space Shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank during Tuesday's launch. Based on initial assessments, the foam -- which appears to measure approximately 24 to 33 inches long, 10 to 13 inches wide and 2-1/2 to 8 inches thick -- was seen by high-resolution camera equipment added to the Shuttle system after the loss of Columbia in 2003. The accident was caused by foam from the external tank hitting the orbiter during launch.

There was no indication the piece of foam sighted Tuesday caused any damage to Discovery. The Shuttle will undergo further inspection beginning Thursday to check for any significant damage to the orbiter.

"As with any unexpected occurrence, we will closely and thoroughly evaluate this event and make any needed modifications to the Shuttle before we launch again," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said. "This is a test flight. Among the things we are testing are the integrity of the foam insulation and the performance of new camera equipment installed to detect problems. The cameras worked well. The foam did not.”

Discovery’s seven crew members are being updated with the latest ground team analysis of the foam loss and are continuing to take part in the inspection process.

Explore further: Modular furniture is conceived for the moon, Mars and other destinations

Related Stories

Inside a high-stakes experiment in protein crystallization

April 14, 2015

On April 18, 2014, former astronaut and UAB Professor Lawrence DeLucas, O.D., Ph.D., stood at Cape Canaveral and watched several hundred crystallization experiments blast into orbit aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Then ...

Discovery launch 'no earlier than' December 3

November 18, 2010

The final launch of the space shuttle Discovery has been delayed until at least December 3 so that repairs can be carried out on a hydrogen leak, the US space agency said Thursday.

Spacewalking 'superhero' untangles cable on boom

May 19, 2010

(AP) -- A spacewalking astronaut freed a snagged cable on the inspection boom for shuttle Atlantis on Wednesday, accomplishing the job in a matter of minutes and earning a "superhero" title.

Recommended for you

Clues from ancient Maya reveal lasting impact on environment

September 3, 2015

Evidence from the tropical lowlands of Central America reveals how Maya activity more than 2,000 years ago not only contributed to the decline of their environment but continues to influence today's environmental conditions, ...

How to curb emissions? Put a price on carbon

September 3, 2015

Literally putting a price on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gasses is the best approach for nurturing the rapid growth of renewable energy and reducing emissions.

X-rays reveal fossil secrets

September 3, 2015

A sophisticated imaging technique has allowed scientists to virtually peer inside a 10-million-year-old sea urchin, uncovering a treasure trove of hidden fossils.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.