NASA Rules Out Additional Spacewalk for Repairs NASA tells space shuttle Discovery's astronauts Thursday that a spacewalk to repair a torn thermal blanket will not be necessary. Mission Control told the crew of seven that the shuttle will be safe for re-entry.

NASA Rules Out Additional Spacewalk for Repairs

NASA Rules Out Additional Spacewalk for Repairs

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Space Shuttle Discovery as seen from the International Space Station just prior to docking NASA hide caption

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NASA engineers decide that a piece of bulging insulation poses no threat to the Space Shuttle Discovery. That means astronauts will not have to take a fourth spacewalk to fix the problem.

The insulating blanket sits just below one of the shuttle's cockpit windows. Engineers worried that it might break off and hit the craft as it returned to Earth next week. Wind tunnel tests and computer simulations showed the insulation would pose no threat to shuttle as it reentered Earth's atmosphere.

The shuttle is now scheduled to disconnect from the international space station very early Saturday morning. It will then head back to earth early Monday morning.