The crew of Space Shuttle Discovery was awakened this morning at 12:39 a.m EDT to start its first full day in space. As the orbiter spends the day chasing the International Space Station, the crew will use Discovery's robot arm to inspect the vehicle's exterior.
Unprecedented imagery captured during Tuesday's ascent to orbit enabled engineers to see two so-called "debris events." A camera mounted on the external tank caught what appeared to be a small fragment of tile coming from Discovery's underside on or near the nose gear doors.
A later image about the time of Solid Rocket Booster separation showed an unidentified piece departing from the tank and exiting away, apparently not striking the orbiter. The crew was notified of these observations and told that imaging experts would be analyzing the pictures.
Mission managers will review the information gathered yesterday and today to help determine the health of Discovery's thermal protection system over the next four days before it is cleared for landing later in the flight.
Discovery is slated to dock with the ISS at 7:18 a.m. EDT Thursday.
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