Shuttle wing hit?

Posted By Pamela on Jun 12, 2007 | 5 comments

I have to admit that I’m a msnbc junky. It is a stupid guilty pleasure of a news source that let’s me know both what matters (War updates) and what doesn’t (Paris, anyone?).

Just flicked over and there and found a “Breaking News” headline and story stating that Space Shuttle Atlantis wing sensors indicate that the leading edge of the left edge was stuck my something.

No idea what this means. Astronauts may need to go out and take a look.

When I know more, I’ll let you know. Currently there is nothing on the NASA mission website.


  1. Point your RSS engine to the Planetary Society weblog. The higher signal to noise ratio could cure you of the sacchrin sweet but nutritionally vacuous msnbc.

    While you’re at it, that Windows laptop could be running Ubuntu. Very easy install. Very functional.

    A space walk has been scheduled to deal with the thermal blanket.

  2. Hi Stuart – This is a completely unrelated problem. I’m not finding any useful updates to the story at this time. one story indicated that he may have been a false alarm. I’m going to keep looking.

    Hi Stephen – Windows laptop? Not on my desk! I’m all OS X all the time ๐Ÿ˜‰ (and I already read Emily’s blog, it’s just not a guilty pleasure – it’s just a happy scientific pleasure).

  3. Hi Pamela,

    If you are interested in what’s going on with the Shuttle Mission, allow me to recommend Full 24/7 live coverage, including all news conferences, for all your STS-117 needs. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for the impact that was sensed on one of the wings, based on last evenings Mission Briefing, it was a phantom reading that has been seen on many previous Shuttle flights. Nothing else on the wing detected anything, which would be most unusual if something hit the vehicle.

    Have a good one.

  4. The long & short of things is that after the Columbia loss, NASA added acoustic sensors (i.e., microphones) inside the leading edge. This gives controllers the ability to listen for any hits on the way up to orbit, in addition to the video from all the cameras they’ve got to work with.

    The only problem with this is that the leading edge panels move around quite a bit during ascent (due to pressure and temperature changes), so controllers have to sort out what sounds are due to legitimate hits, and what sounds are just indicative of the leading edge panels getting “comfortable.” From the sound of things (no pun intended), the sensors picked up a noise, but given the lack of anything on video, or damage found in the on-orbit inspection, it’s been written off as normal ascent noise.

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