Space shuttle Discovery, returning to Earth Wednesday from its last mission, is expected to land in Florida just before noon Eastern Standard Time. Mission managers laud a nearly flawless flight.
Post-Columbia inspection methods show that foam seen tumbling along Discovery's tiles – and apparently hitting twice – caused only cosmetic damage, say NASA engineers.
One day into the final mission for the space shuttle Discovery, the orbiter's systems were 'in great shape.' But the craft's heat-shedding tiles were closely inspected for post-launch damage.
The loss of the radar antenna will make it harder for Discovery both to dock with the International Space Station and to determine whether the space shuttle's heat tiles are damaged.
The space shuttle Endeavour won't launch until July, as NASA engineers try to fix a persistent leak in its external tank.