Source Pravda.Ru

Hail damages space shuttle tank

Hail from a passing thunderstorm dinged a section of space shuttle Atlantis' external fuel tank, and NASA managers were not sure Tuesday morning if the damage was severe enough to postpone next month's launch.

The storm passed over the launch pad Monday evening where Atlantis was being prepared for a March 15 launch, said NASA spokesman Bill Johnson.

"Right now, the big deal is how many divots? How deep are they? Can they be repaired at the pad? Can they not be repaired at the pad?" Johnson said, reports AP.

NASA technicians have two options: they can either make repairs to the external tank on the launch pad using an enormous crane or they would have to move back the space shuttle to the Vehicle Assembly Building to fix the divots.