NASA Johnson Space Center documents from as far back as 1988 show that wing roughness, similar to that associated with the orbiter Columbia's left wing, could result in a catastrophic burn-through when combined with potentially significant wing impact damage resembling that being investigated in the Feb. 1 reentry accident. One of these documents (right) presented in a 1988 shuttle flight readiness review specifically spelled out how gouge damage at or behind the wing glove could result ...

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