Nasa Suspends Space Shuttle Flights Over Debris Concerns

07.17.09 | FL News Team

NASA is suspending all future space shuttle flights until further notice until a complete evaluation is made of damage to the orbiter after launch on Wednesday. Ice and what appeared to be strips of insulating foam on the external fuel tank fell away and struck the underside of the shuttle, where the heat-resistant tiles are located. The heat shield must be intact in order for the shuttle to return to Earth safely without the space ship burning up in the atmosphere. Video of the launch showed about a dozen pieces of debris striking the Space Shuttle Endeavour.


The astronauts used a camera on a robotic arm to inspect the heat-resistant tiles yesterday. Endeavour is on a 16-day mission to the International Space Station. It's expected to arrive at the ISS and dock with the orbiting outpost later on today. NASA had slated seven additional shuttle launches to the International Space Station before the shuttle program is retired.