Na Atlantisu oštećena termička oplata

Otkriveno je oštećenje na raketoplanu Atlantis koji je trebao servisirati svemirski teleskop Hubble.

NASA officials have confirmed that the space shuttle Atlantis was hit by a piece of debris that nicked part of its heat shield.

But the damage -- a scratch about 21 inches long across four heat-resistant ceramic tiles-- detected less than 2 minutes after liftoff --seems to be very minor.

NASA spokesman LeRoy Cain.

SOUNDBITE: LeRoy Cain, Deputy Manager- Space Shuttle Program, saying (English):

"This is an area that the team wil be looking at overnight. The preliminary indications are that the damage depth is not very deep. It's not very significant"

Shuttle astronauts have already scoured their ship for damage and NASA told the Atlantis crew there might be a need for additional inspections of the area where the ship's right wing joins the fuselage.

Since the Atlantis and its seven-member crew is heading to the Hubble Space Telescope and will be too far away to reach the International Space Station, NASA has a second shuttle on the launch pad ready to mount a rescue if needed.

Atlantis is due to reach the orbiting Hubble Telescope for a repair visit on Wednesday.

Jon Decker, Reuters.