NASA's Statement on Foam Shedding From External Tank

Jul 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: Breezy science, plant studies and more head to space station on SpaceX-4

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Discovery launch 'no earlier than' December 3

Nov 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.

Astronauts enter space station's newest room

Feb 13, 2010

(AP) -- Astronauts swung open the door to the International Space Station's newest room Friday night, using flashlights to illuminate the shadowy chamber and wearing goggles and masks to keep themselves safe ...

Space shuttle Endeavour pulls in at space station

Feb 10, 2010

(AP) -- Shuttle Endeavour arrived to a warm welcome at the International Space Station early Wednesday, delivering a new room and observation deck that will come close to completing construction 200 miles ...

Recommended for you

Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars

3 hours ago

Scientists have shown how gravitational waves—invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time that propagate through the universe—might be "seen" by looking at the stars. The new model proposes that ...

How gamma ray telescopes work

4 hours ago

Yesterday I talked about the detection of gamma ray bursts, intense blasts of gamma rays that occasionally appear in distant galaxies. Gamma ray bursts were only detected when gamma ray satellites were put ...

NASA launches RapidScat wind watcher to Space Station

5 hours ago

A new NASA mission that will boost global monitoring of ocean winds for improved weather forecasting and climate studies is among about 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of NASA science investigations and cargo ...

User comments : 0