Teacher in Space - Endeavour, STS-118 and Heat Tile Damage

Teacher in Space - Endeavour, STS-118 and Heat Tile Damage (Illustration) American History Biographies Famous Historical Events Famous People Social Studies Aviation & Space Exploration STEM Disasters

This NASA image—Mission Status Briefing Graphics—depicts an event from STS-118, a shuttle mission flown by Endeavour, and its seven-member crew, in 2007. It reflects non-catastrophic damage on the orbiter’s underside.

Who were the astronauts aboard Endeavour during that mission to the International Space Station (ISS)?

  • U.S. Navy Commander Scott J. Kelly commanded the seven-person crew of STS-118.

Lifting off the launch pad—on August 8, 2007—this flight was significant for a very special reason. Aboard was Barbara Morgan—Christa McAuliffe’s backup for NASA’s “Teacher in Space Project.”  

Christa died, unexpectedly, when Space Shuttle Challenger catastrophically exploded soon after liftoff (in January of 1986). It took more than two decades before NASA’s leaders were comfortable-enough to permit the next “educator in space” to fly aboard an orbiter.

The purpose of STS-118, among other things, was to deliver a third starboard truss segment to the International Space Station. It was the 22nd time a Space Shuttle visited the station.

What does this graphic tell us, specifically, about Mission STS-118?  

There was an incident, during this mission, when a piece of external-tank-foam insulation broke loose during the launch sequence. Fortunately, it did not cause the type of damage which led to the loss of Columbia on February 1, 2003.

The foam-break, during Endeavour’s launch, gouged a three-inch-square gash into heat-resistant tiles on the orbiter’s undercarriage (as depicted in this NASA-produced graphic). As the image also shows, the damaged tiles were near the starboard landing-gear door.

Click on the image for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Aug 23, 2019

Media Credits

Image, described above, online via NASA.  Public Domain.


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"Teacher in Space - Endeavour, STS-118 and Heat Tile Damage" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Aug 23, 2019.
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