Image from NASA TV shows nose of external tank striking a bird as Discovery lifts off. NASA TV via AP
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NASA released an image Tuesday night of Discovery striking a bird seconds after launch, according to FLORIDA TODAY news partner WKMG Local 6 News.
"It happened just as Discovery was clearing the launch pad and it is too early to tell whether that strike caused any flight safety issues," Local 6 News reporter Mike DeForest said.
The image was captured by one of more than 100 cameras photographing every angle of Discovery's launch.
"Without ever having seen these camera angles before, they don't know if debris has always shed off or if they had hit birds in the past," DeForest said. "This is their first glimpse and of course they will do inspections later this week to see if that caused any type of dangerous situation."
NASA officials are also analyzing video of a portion of Tuesday's shuttle launch "frame-by-frame" after one of several cameras aboard the craft captured what appeared to be pieces of debris separating from Discovery, according to Local 6 News.
wasn't part of this return to flight mission, to be able to troubleshoot and/or repair damage to the shuttle or the space station?
in the cargo bay, is a robotic arm with a camera, that the space stations robotic arm can grab to view the entire shuttle for damage, and i thought the astronauts would be able to do spacewalks to correct minor damage, if any found.
I live 10 miles from and work at the space center...so probly get more local news about the shuttle than most people on this board...looks like a problem for NASA.
NASA Grounds Entire Space Shuttle Fleet
POSTED: 9:47 am EDT July 27, 2005
HOUSTON -- NASA says it is grounding future space shuttle flights because foam debris that brought down Columbia is still a risk.
NASA says the mysterious object that came flying off the space shuttle Discovery's fuel tank during liftoff was a large piece of foam insulation.
That was the very thing that caused Columbia to break apart during re-entry two and a half years ago, killing all seven astronauts aboard. But this time, the foam didn't hit the spacecraft.
NASA expected some debris to fall off during Tuesday's launch, but officials said they won't know for a few days whether any of it will mean a risk to the crew.
Discovery astronauts woke early Wednesday morning and started checking the outside of their spacecraft.
They were maneuvering a sensor-equipped robotic arm to see if any damage occurred during launch Tuesday. The examination focused on the shuttle's wings and nose.
It's one of the new procedures put in place since the 2003 Columbia tragedy.
NASA officials say two chunks of debris appeared to break free during launch. Officials say cameras recorded what looks like a piece of thermal tile breaking off the shuttle's belly. And a chunk of what may be foam insulation peeled off the external fuel tank.
Officials don't know if the debris did any damage.
At an 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday news conference, flight director Paul Hill said that much of the data from the various cameras and scans has been sent back to Earth and is being distilled into engineering reports. If any areas need additional reviews, those will likely happen on the fourth day of the flight.
Hill said the process worked well, but that it was a lot of work, requiring full-time attention from three of the seven crew members. NASA hopes not to have to do as much scanning on future flights, if it can rely on other sensors.
He noted that although some small damage was reported Tuesday, the shuttle has landed many times with some thermal protection system damage, so NASA knows what can be tolerated.
In orbit, astronauts have also tested the tools and equipment they'll use during some space walks. And they're planning to get the airlock ready for Thursday's docking with the international space station.
Engineers on the ground are analyzing images and data from the launch to see if there were other incidents, NASA said on its Web site.
The crew of the orbiting laboratory will also photograph all sides of Discovery before the two link up.
Rendezvous with the station is scheduled for 7:18 a.m. EDT Thursday. Discovery will provide a new gyroscope for the station, as well as other supplies