July 29, 2005Filmed from the International Space Station
yesterday, the U.S. space shuttle Discovery executes a
somersault in space. The unprecedented maneuver allowed NASA staff to
examine the shuttle's underbelly for signs of damage before the ship
docked with the space station to deliver much-needed supplies.
During Discovery's Wednesday liftoff, a chunk of insulating foam broke off the space shuttle's fuel tank. In 2003 an errant piece of foam had disloged outer heat-shielding tiles from the space shuttle Columbia, leading to its disintegration over Earth. After yesterday's inspection, however, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, speaking to ABC TV reporters, declared Discovery "a clean bird."