Grounding the Shuttle Fleet.

In the days after Discovery launched on July 26th, 2005, NASA ground crews began to examine photographs and telemetry obtained during the launch to check for anything suspicious. NASA was taking these precautions to prevent the type of disaster that destroyed Columbia on reentry.

Columbia’s leading edge of her wing was impacted by a piece of foam insulation on the big orange colored external fuel tank.

The foam damaged the heat-resistant carbon heat shield, and upon reentry that section failed, causing Columbia to break up upon reentry. In the wake of…