Video in the News: Space Shuttle Does a Backflip

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July 29, 2005—Filmed 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."

Text by Ted Chamberlain

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