Astronauts inspect space shuttle ahead of landing

Jul 29, 2009 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
In this July 25, 2009 photo provided by NASA, the limb of Earth intersects one of two Soyuz spacecraft that are docked with the International Space Station. (AP Photo/NASA)

(AP) -- Space shuttle Endeavour's astronauts are inspecting their ship to make sure it's safe for Friday's landing.

The survey of the wings and nose, being conducted Wednesday morning, is standard before a shuttle returns to Earth. NASA wants to make sure Endeavour's heat shield was not pierced by micrometeorites or space junk during its two weeks in . The astronauts used a laser-tipped boom to check for damage.

Endeavour and its crew of seven left the Tuesday.

As the inspection was under way, an unmanned Russian vessel carrying several-thousand pounds of supplies docked at the station. Commander Gennady Padalka had to manually guide the craft in because of a problem with its automatic system.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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