NASA: Space shuttle flaws too small to pose danger

February 12, 2010 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
This image provided by NASA TV shows astronauts Robert Behnken, left, and Nicholas Patrick installing the Tranquility room to the International Space Station backdropped by the blackness of space and earth early Friday Feb. 12, 2010 as they pass over Austrailia. The new room, named Tranquility, and domed lookout represent $400 million in home improvements. The lookout, with its seven windows, including the largest ever sent into space, already has astronauts salivating over the anticipated views of Earth. (AP Photo/NASA)

(AP) -- NASA says the handful of defects on space shuttle Endeavour are too small to pose any threat.

Mission managers agreed Friday that there's nothing that would prevent Endeavour and its six from returning safely to Earth.

Managers came to that unanimous conclusion after reviewing pictures from Monday's launch and data collected from orbit. Management team leader LeRoy Cain says a cracked thermal tile and protruding ceramic spacer on the cockpit are so small that even if they managed to break off during re-entry and strike Endeavour, no serious damage would result.

Endeavour will remain at the until the end of next week. Astronauts need to finish installing a new room and lookout.

Explore further: NASA will try to launch space shuttle Wednesday


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