Space Shuttle Continues Journey to Earth

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Houston (AP) - NASA isn't anticipating any problems as it awaits today's results of a final inspection on Atlantis.

The shuttle is due to land tomorrow.

NASA engineers are studying images of the wings and nose cap of the shuttle to make sure it can withstand the intense heat of re-entering Earth's atmosphere before they give final approval for landing. Such inspections have been required since the Columbia accident in 2003 that killed seven astronauts.

During their nearly ten days linked up with the international space station, shuttle crewmembers used a spacewalk to repair a peeled-back thermal blanket near Atlantis' tail.

But even if the shuttle's heat shield is cleared for landing, the weather might not cooperate. A front in the Florida panhandle could bring showers to the Kennedy Space Center tomorrow and Friday. Managers hope for a landing by Saturday.


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