NASA Halts Future Shuttle Missions

Posted on July 28, 2005

The BBC reports that NASA has halted future shuttle flights after footage showed foam falling from Discovery's external tank. Discovery did a back-flip so the belly of Discovery could be examined to check for damage to any of the important heatshield tiles. The BBC said that two heatshield tiles on Discovery appear to be broken. However, MSNBC reports that NASA astronaut John Phillips was not alarmed:

"Neither of us saw anything really alarming," station astronaut John Phillips told NASA mission control.
The BBC reports that shuttles will be grounded until the foam issue is resolved.
Until the foam issue can be fixed, shuttles will not lift-off, Nasa says.

Tuesday's shedding foam is not thought to have hit Discovery, but two heatshield tiles do appear to be broken underneath the vehicle.

However, the first reports of the ISS investigation indicated there were no major areas of damage to contend with.

It was a suitcase-sized piece of foam that fell off the Columbia shuttle during its launch and punched a hole in the wing.

Yesterday, Pictures showing debris falling off the shuttle concerned people inside and outside of NASA.

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