"During that inspection, mission managers noted one area of damage on the forward part of the spacecraft where the wing blends into the fuselage. Initially it appears to be very minor and of no concern for the mission, however the standard expert analysis is underway."
"The STS-125 crew will begin its sleep period at 8:01 p.m. and awaken at 4:01 a.m. Wednesday. The next shuttle status report will be issued after that wake up call or earlier if events warrant."
Editor's Update: Mission control has informed the crew that there will be no need for a focused inspection of the affected small damaged area. The crew was happy to hear the news.
This is like dodging bullets! Retirement of this aging system is clearly in the national interest-before another accident calls into question the entire viability of NASA's human spaceflight program. If there was another Shuttle disaster in these handful of remaining flights, how would America react? How would Obama react? Let's hope we never have to find out.
Frank's add: Sorry readers but I stand behind my comment. While it is true the foam problem has been significantly reduced, it hasn't been eliminated-and with the Shuttle you are always one serious debris strike from a serious if not fatal turn of events. It was the CAIB that suggested that flying the Shuttle poses risks that cannot be quantified-there are increasing problems that make themselves know only during flight, problems not previously anticipated. There will NEVER be enough funding to fly the Shuttle through the gap until Orion is ready-that's a political fact of life, no matter the huffing and puffing of politicians, who are unable to add more funds to the NASA top line for anything more than one more Shuttle flight.
it is a system that has served the nation well-and time for it to be retired with grace and honor.