Posted By RichC on September 9, 2006
After two weeks of delayse do to weather and technical problems, the shuttle Atlantis and mission STS-115 rocketed into space and to its mission to continue the buildout of the International Space Station. The launch was not without a few launch worries in regard to debris once again, but program manager Wayne Hale indicated that there is no sign of damage to Atlantis. The crew will follow up the preliminary camera views with the mandated inspection of the heat tiles on Sunday.
According to Reuters (photo above from Reuters), since the accident NASA has flown two missions to test fuel tank redesigns, in-flight inspections and heat shield repair techniques. The early report was that there were two “sprays” of debris believed to be tank foam and a piece of ice that broke away more than four minutes after the shuttle left the launch pad — well past the time they would pose a threat to the ship. By then, Atlantis was nearly out of the atmosphere so the debrris would have little aerodynamic force.
See Reuters article and one minute lauch of Atlantis video.