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Astronauts inspect Endeavour for possible damage

A view of the Tranquility node in the payload bay of space shuttle Endeavour during the STS-130 crew’s first full day in space. A NASA TV Photo

WASHINGTON (BNS): Astronauts on board NASA space shuttle Endeavour were busy inspecting any possible damage in its heat shield as the spaceship cruised towards the International Space Station.

“The survey of the shuttle’s heat shield has been completed. The photos of the heat shield captured during the inspection, as well as others taken during various points in the mission, will be used to ensure that the shuttle did not sustain any damage during its launch on Monday,” NASA said on Tuesday.

Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the orbital station at 12:09 am EST (0509 GMT) on Wednesday.

The shuttle was launched from the Kennedy space centre on Monday, in the last ever pre-dawn launch by NASA. It is carrying the STS-130 mission.

The 13-day long STS-130 mission includes six astronauts, an Italian connecting module and a copula.

The astronauts will undertake three spacewalks during which they will fix ISS's third connecting module – Tranquility – which will increase the space station's interior space.

The cupola, attached to the module, is a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another at the centre that will provide a panoramic view of the Earth, celestial objects and other spacecraft.

After the node and copula are attached to the ISS, the space station will be about 90 percent complete, according to NASA.

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