June 13, 2008

NASA: Discovery On Track for Saturday Landing

NASA engineers have reported that a metal clip used by the shuttle Discovery's braking system fell off on Friday, but Discovery's Commander Mark Kelly added that the clip is not critical and shouldn't cause any problems for the shuttle's landing on Saturday.

As Discovery astronauts completed a day-before-landing test of the shuttle steering jets, they reported noticing a one-foot- to 1.5-foot-long rectangular object floating away from the shuttle from behind the rear portion of the right wing.

The insulation is used to protect the shuttle's rudder speed brake from overheating during landing.

Astronauts sent images and video of what they call a "bump" on the left side trailing edge of Discovery's rudder. NASA engineers are currently investigating the images as the crew begins to wrap up their STS-124 mission.

The STS-124 astronauts also will set up the recumbent seat for Mission Specialist Garrett Reisman, who joined the crew of Discovery on the International Space Station. Reisman, who served as Expedition 17 flight engineer for three months, was replaced on the station crew by NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff.


Image Caption: Highlighted views of a "bump" seen by the STS-124 crew on space shuttle Discovery's rudder. Photo credit: NASA


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