Hail Damages Space Shuttle Atlantis, Delays Launch

Hail damage on the shuttle. Image credit: NASAA hail storm pounded the Space Shuttle Atlantis on Tuesday, chewing up foam at the top of the shuttle’s external fuel tank. The damage was so significant that managers decided to delay the shuttle’s launch until the damage can be repaired.

Atlantis was originally supposed to launch as early as March 15, but the golf ball-sized hail has helped push that back – workers found 1-2,000 divots in the foam, and several damaged heat tiles on the Shuttle’s left wing.

The shuttle was rolled back from the launch pad to the Vehicle Assembly Building, to analyze the damage and begin repairs. Managers are currently hoping for a launch date starting as early as April 22.

Original Source: NASA News Release