Tag Archives: docking

Space station photographs heat shield on Endeavour during RPM

Shuttle does back flip so ISS crew can inspect the heat shield

Endeavour Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver

Space station photographs heat shield on Endeavour during RPM

Day 3, STS 130 – Just prior to docking at 12:06 am on February 10, 2010 the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour executed a tightly choreographed back flip in space.

The maneuver, called RPM, exposes the heat shield of the shuttle to the International Space Station crew who photograph it looking for any launch damage. The RPM is preliminary to docking the shuttle with the ISS.

The photographs are studied to determine if the shuttle is safe for re-entry into earth’s atmosphere. If not, the crew of the Shuttle would wait for a rescue shuttle to arrive from earth.

The destruction of the Shuttle Columbia was a result of damage to the heat shield which was ignored. The Columbia overheated on one wing and disintegrated on re-entry. Continue reading