STS-124 "UFO" just a Metal Clip, says NASA
NASA: Metal clip fell off braking system, won't affect landing

Highlighted views of a "bump" seen by the STS-124 crew on space shuttle Discovery's rudder.

By Juan A. Lozano, Associated Press

HOUSTON NASA engineers say a metal clip from the space shuttle's braking system fell off Discovery on Friday. NASA says the missing clip isn't critical and won't affect the shuttle's landing on Saturday.

The astronauts reported to Mission Control earlier Friday that they saw a rectangular object, about 1 to 1 feet long, floating away from the tail of the shuttle. It turned out to be one of three metal clips around thermal insulation.

"We see a little bump kind of sticking out," shuttle pilot Ken Ham said.

The insulation is in the shuttle's rudder speed brake, which is used to slow the spacecraft as it comes in for a landing.

NASA Photograph of Metal Clip

source & references:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-06-13-nasa-discovery-protrusion_N.htm?csp=34

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