Posts: 786 From: Streamwood, IL USA Registered: Feb 2012
posted 04-08-2019 08:57 AM
I recently found a NASA image (61-C-31-02) showing a triangular-shaped object floating away from Columbia during the 61-C mission. The description was that it was "a small piece of thermal insulation tile." Does any cSer have any additional info on this event? Like from where on the orbiter it came? And how did that area survive re-entry?
Robert Pearlman Editor
Posts: 41413 From: Houston, TX Registered: Nov 1999
posted 04-09-2019 01:32 PM
STS-61C Congressional observer Bill Nelson, writing in his book "Mission," describes the pictured tile fragment as one of several from the underbelly of the orbiter that he saw trailing Columbia in orbit.
Small tile losses were not uncommon throughout the space shuttle program and generally posed no concern for the safety of the orbiter. (The problem was that until STS-114, there was no means for the crew to survey the extent of the tile loss, and so analysis was limited to post-flight inspections.)