Endeavour shield damage is exaggerated: Cosmonaut

Soviet and Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Polischuk has commented on the problems that the American shuttle Endeavour has been facing.

During lift-off last week, a 9-centimetre-long gouge emerged in the shuttle's thermal shielding.

“The damage is on the ship's belly and the heat intensity expected during normal operations is low in this zone. Yesterday, I talked to American colleagues in Houston. They assured me the situation is not as dramatic as the mass media present it.

Basically, there may be no need for repairs at all. Anyway they have the necessary technology onboard that would enable them to conduct repairs.

After the tragic crash of Columbia, the repair procedure was thoroughly examined.

Wednesday and Friday are possible dates for the repair. After this they'll start their return,” said Aleksandr Polischuk, cosmonaut, Moscow.