Tool drops at pad, NASA checks for shuttle damage

February 9, 2011 9:46:24 AM PST
NASA is checking space shuttle Discovery to see if it was damaged by a dropped tool. Discovery is supposed to blast off Feb. 24 for the International Space Station after a delay of nearly four months.

A NASA spokeswoman said Wednesday that a measuring gauge came apart. The tool may have struck Discovery's external fuel tank as it fell. The mishap occurred Tuesday night during repair work.

Spokeswoman Candrea Thomas says the metal gauge is small. It was tethered properly to a worker, but came apart and some pieces fell.

This week, workers are replacing a shuttle seal to prevent another hydrogen gas leak. Leaking gas halted Discovery's countdown in November. Fuel tank cracks contributed to the lengthy delay.