Fingers crossed for the Shuttle crew!

They’re on their way home. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6953423.stm

Fingers crossed indeed. I can’t believe they’re sending it home with a hole in the heat shield. It’s like they’re compulsive gamblers.

They tell us they’re being careful but I don’t believe them. “Careful” would mnean taking some kind of steps to avoid this sort of thing.

Just saying “huh” and flooring it isn’t really caution. (I know they say “tests indicate it will be okay,” but seriously, aren’t there a lot of engineering assumptions going on in these tests?)

Good luck, team. I don’t think I’ll watch.

Sailboat

Hold on to your butts!

I was under the impression that basically every shuttle suffers some tile damage during a flight. Columbia demonstrated what happens when the damage is severe, but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t this amount of damage on sucessful re-entries in the past.

That said, I can’t believe they didn’t try at least the “caulk gun” level of repair even if they thought the damage wasn’t critical, just to see how well it worked in a real re-entry situation.

Damn things should have been replaced 7 or 8 years ago…

After each of the previous disasters, I kept hoping that NASA would take the incidents as a hint that the Shuttle needs to be scrapped and reimagined. I can’t believe we’re still flying “The Space Truck” after all this time.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll make it back safely.

Ditto on all counts. I never hear any shuttle news without getting a big pit in my stomach, so here’s hoping that I’ve got nothing to worry about and touchdown will be smooth, easy, and uneventful.

I for one will be listening for the BOOM-BOOM around mid-day tomorrow and checking the news each chance I get.

Yeah, something doesn’t sound right. We need a new space truck.

Is it my imagination or didn’t those tiles use to fall off all the time in the early days of the shuttle program?

You do need to weigh the risks of a repair job to both the people doing the repairs and the possibility of a repair causing more trouble than the original hole. My first thought was “Fix the damned thing and quit screwing around.” Then I remembered that people need to get into space suits and go outside to do it. That itself involves risk to those involved. And they are making a patch job wearing cumbersone gloves and the job can’t be inspected for having been done right. It’s really not an open-and-shut case.

The basic problem should have been solved by now. The shuttle itself is OK, it’s the insulation on that damned big fuel tank that needs rethinking.

I don’t envy the guy who has the final sign-off.

It’s not your imagination. Those things have been a problem since day one.

Toes and fingers crossed.

With a HEMI!

I have a terrible feeling about this.

They’ve fired the engines for the de-orbit burn. Alea iacta est.

Seems to be going well so far - 393,000 feet.

Now 215K feet - just where it all went wrong last time.

got a link for landing progress?

With the difference being, Columbia had a decent sized hole on the carbon-carbon leading edge of the wing. Endevour has a gouge in a tile on the belly, not unlike other shuttle flights that tile damage was not catastrophic.