NASA / SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Thermal protective system of the Space Shuttle Columbia. STS-2, the second NASA Space Shuttle Mission, and the second flight of the Columbia, was originally set for launch on October 9, 1981, but leakage of nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer required removal, decontamination, and reapplication of more than 300 of Columbia's thermal protection system tiles. The leakage occurred in the forward oxidizer purge access panel at upper left. The chemical ran down the surface of the spacecraft, loosening the bond between the Orbiter's skin and the tiles. Below the access panel, circular ports for the orbital manoeuvring system nozzles are visible in this view of the starboard section of Columbia's nose, looking down and aft from a work platform at Launch Pad 39A. Kennedy Space Center, Florida, August 10, 1981.
Model release not required. Property release not required.