An astronaut's ripped glove forced an early end to a spacewalk and added to NASA's headaches as shuttle managers put off a decision on whether to order risky spacewalk repairs for a deep gouge on Endeavour's belly.
After nearly a week of agonizing over the gouge, NASA indicated it was close to wrapping up tests and would decide Thursday whether repairs were needed.
One of the astronauts who would attempt those repairs, Rick Mastracchio, had to cut his latest spacewalk short Wednesday after he noticed a hole in his left glove.
The quarter-inch-long (640 millimeter) rip in the thumb penetrated only the two outer layers of the five-layer glove, and he was never in any danger, officials said. Nevertheless, he was ordered back inside early as a precaution, and his spacewalking partner quickly finished what he was doing and followed him in.