NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Space shuttle Discovery landing safely after the Return to Flight mission (STS-114). The footage shows a thermal image of the shuttle with the hottest areas appearing brightest, a result of heating during re-entry. Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA, on 9th August 2005 after a 14-day mission. The mission was the first space shuttle flight since the loss of Columbia on 1st February 2003. Columbia was destroyed after falling insulation foam on launch damaged its heat shield, leading to it burning up on re-entry with the loss of the seven crew. The foam insulation on the fuel tank was redesigned for mission STS-114, but small pieces still fell off during the launch. A small area of heat shield damage was successfully repaired during a spacewalk on 3rd August. The incident led NASA to ground the remaining shuttle fleet until the problem could be definitively resolved.
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