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STS-117 Crew Inspected Shuttle Heat Shield


*STS-117 Crew Inspected Shuttle Heat Shield*

View of Earth from shuttle payload bayImage above: A video camera aboard 
Atlantis captured this view of the Earth and the shuttle's
payload bay. Image credit: NASA TV

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The STS-117 crew members completed the day's scheduled inspections of 
Space Shuttle Atlantis’ heat shield. They used Atlantis’ robotic arm and 
an attached boom extension to check the spacecraft’s underside, nose cap 
and leading edges of the wings as well as hard to reach shuttle surfaces.

The inspections are performed to check if any damage occurred to the 
heat shield during the climb to orbit that began when Atlantis lifted 
off Friday from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Over the next few days, 
engineers and flight controllers will analyze the data collected by the 
STS-117 crew.

Last night during the robot arm checkout, the robotic arm cameras were 
used to take a closer look at an area of insulation blanket on the port 
orbital maneuvering system pod that pulled away from adjacent thermal 
tiles. Engineers are analyzing the imagery.

Throughout the day, the crew has been preparing for Sunday’s arrival at 
the International Space Station. The day's activities include the 
extension of the shuttle’s docking ring and the check out of tools they 
will use to rendezvous and link up with the station. Docking is set for 
3:38 p.m. Sunday.

Earlier today, the STS-117 crew checked out spacesuits to be used during 
the mission’s three scheduled spacewalks at the space station. The major 
objective of the spacewalks is to install and activate the station’s 
newest component, the Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segments, and to 
assist in the retraction of the starboard array on the Port 6 truss.

STS-117 is also delivering a new crew member to the station.

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