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Atlantis due to return on Thursday

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Atlantis due to return on Thursday

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NASA space flight managers have carried out detailed inspections of the Atlantis space shuttle, after a mysterious small object was observed in space near the craft. Scans using a telescopic arm showed no signs of anything abnormal. Atlantis is due to return to earth on Thursday.

Technicians say something the size of a speck appears bigger in space. Flight director Steve Stich is confident about the tests:

“In those inspections with the starboard, with the RMS system we didn’t see any evidence of any kind of damage. The only remarkable thing we saw was that the gap filler on the starboard ET door, and the little piece of shim stock on the port ET door was no longer there. So far the inspection is going really well.”

The mission bringing a new crew to the International Space Station is going to plan. A Soyuz craft carrying three personnel docked earlier with the ISS. One of the three was Iranian-American space tourist Anousheh Ansari. She is due to return to earth in eight days time with two crew members who have been on the station for six months.