Debris analysis update
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: September 11, 2006
NASA's Mission Management Team has refined the timing of a handful of launch debris events noted during the shuttle Atlantis' climb to space Saturday. As mission managers reported Sunday, no impacts occurred during the first 135 seconds of flight, the period when atmospheric density is high enough to give debris enough energy to cause heat shield damage.
Here is the latest MMT summary uplinked to the astronauts by mission control as part of their daily "execute package" of notes and instructions:
"The teams continue to review the ascent imagery data (ET LOX feedline camera, ground cameras, WAVE aircraft video, and debris radar). The preliminary characterization is the debris environment was minimal, which is consistent with the preliminary debris report that you received yesterday during the post insertion timeframe. There was only one event occurring inside the debris sensitive timeframe. That event was a late release of an F4D (thruster jet) Tyvek Cover at (about) 16 secs MET (mission elapsed time) at a velocity of 230 mph."
An attached photo showed the paper cover did not impact the orbiter. Other debris events are as follows (shown in minutes and seconds after launch):
2:50: Debris from ET ice-frost ramp at position Xt 1270
4:05: Possible orbiter debris impacts to belly and wing leading edge glove areas, but no damage visible
4:07: Debris outboard of liquid oxygen feedline; no orbiter impact
5:27: Potential debris impact on right wing, but no signs of visible damage. Wing leading edge sensors did not detect any impacts
5:30: Radar detected a possible debris event, but nothing shows up in the imagery
7:32: Debris seen with possible impact
8:44: Suspected ice hit Atlantis near a nose landing gear door
The official crew patch for the STS-115 mission of space shuttle Atlantis to resume orbital construction of the International Space Station.
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