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Intelligent Machines

NASA's New Cameras: A Photo Essay

Discovery shuttle astronauts tested new technologies while orbiting 400 kilometers above Earth.

One of the primary missions of NASA’s most recent spaceflight, the space shuttle Discovery’s July trip to the International Space Station, was to test new safety technologies. While the ­shuttle orbited 300 to 400 kilometers above Earth, astronauts tried out new cameras designed to detect damage that the ­shuttle’s ­protective tiles might sustain during the trauma of leaving Earth’s ­atmosphere. Two astronauts inched out to the end of the ­shuttle’s 100-foot robotic arm and boom to test their stability as a tile ­repair platform. Astronauts inside the shuttle and in the space station photographed the project through their windows.

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