The shuttle appears to be in good overall shape, but the survey did uncover a 53cm (21in) line of chips on the vehicle’s right side. The line of chips uncovered by the inspection are in thick tiles that make up the protective heat shield on Atlantis’ starboard side. The damage is located where the right wing joins the shuttle’s fuselage. Nasa said the chips could be related to a debris event detected by the wing’s leading edge sensors 104-106 seconds into the lift-off.
The stuff he talks about at the end of the post is one of the things I willfully chose to ignore when I was writing Worldwired. The science in science fiction is mostly much more useful than this real-world science of ours. Like, for example, you can do stuff quickly with it.
Come home safe, guys.