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Nov 17, 2009 11:09 AM by Associated Press

Astronauts inspect space shuttle for damage

Astronauts aboard the shuttle Atlantis have begun a close inspection of the craft's thermal shield, checking for any possible damage during yesterday's launch.

They're using a 100-foot, laser-tipped inspection boom, which was first focused on Atlantis' right wing. The job is expected to last into the afternoon.

NASA officials say a quick look at launch images suggests there is nothing to be concerned about.

Atlantis, on an 11-day voyage, is scheduled to dock tomorrow with the International Space Station. It's delivering nearly 15 tons of big spare parts.

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