Image: Top of fuel tank
NASA via Reuters
Hail damage to the top of the shuttle Atlantis' external fuel tank shows up as white pockmarks on the reddish foam insulation, as seen in this launch-pad view Tuesday.
updated 3/4/2007 2:37:23 PM ET 2007-03-04T19:37:23

Space shuttle Atlantis is being moved from the launch pad back to the hanger so technicians can inspect damage caused by a hail storm.

It's the 17th time in the shuttle program's history that a vehicle has had to be moved back to the hanger from the lauchpad.

Last week's hail storm caused thousands of dings in the insulating foam covering the shuttle's external fuel tank. The damage forced NASA to postpone the space shuttle's launch until at least late April.

Once Atlantis is back inside, technicians will be able to assess whether the repairs to the tank can be made at the Kennedy Space Center or if the tank needs to be shipped back to its manufacturer near New Orleans.

That would likely push back the launch to June.

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