Foam Issue Puts Future Shuttle Flights on Hold

A view of the shuttle docking with the international space station.

A view of the shuttle docking with the international space station. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters
Fuel tank close up i

A light spot indicates a large piece of foam that separated from an area of the fuel tank called the Protuberance Air Load (PAL) Ramp. NASA hide caption

itoggle caption NASA
Fuel tank close up

A light spot indicates a large piece of foam that separated from an area of the fuel tank called the Protuberance Air Load (PAL) Ramp.

NASA
External fuel tank image i

Still image taken by Discovery's crew of the external fuel tank as it was jettisoned on July 26. NASA hide caption

itoggle caption NASA
External fuel tank image

Still image taken by Discovery's crew of the external fuel tank as it was jettisoned on July 26.

NASA

NASA officials are once again forced to put future shuttle flights on hold. Foam blamed for causing fatal damage to Columbia also broke away from Discovery's external fuel tank two minutes after liftoff Tuesday. NASA says this time there's no evidence the breakaway foam hit the shuttle.

The Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the international space station Thursday morning. Just before, the astronauts piloted the craft into a backflip so they could photograph the shuttle's underbelly for signs of damage.

The shuttle is scheduled to stay at the space station for one week and return to home on Aug. 7.

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