Press Release

NASA Performs Space Shuttle Tanking Test for Return to Flight

By SpaceRef Editor
April 13, 2005
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NASA Performs Space Shuttle Tanking Test for Return to Flight

NASA invites the news media to attend events surrounding the Space Shuttle Discovery’s redesigned External Tank (ET) tanking test tomorrow at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla. A photo opportunity of the Space Shuttle at the launch pad is available this evening. Live NASA TV coverage of the tanking test begins at 5:30 a.m. EDT, Thursday. After the test, a news conference will be held at KSC at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

The test times are subject to change on short notice. Media are advised to contact the KSC Press Site for the latest information or check the KSC Press Site recorded phone line: 321/867-2525.

The tanking test consists of ground crews filling Discovery’s ET with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel to evaluate how the orbiter, tank, Solid Rocket Boosters and ground systems perform under “cryo-load” — when the tank is filled with two ultralow-temperature fuels.

Also part of the test, crews will ready the orbiter’s main propulsion system and the launch team will take the opportunity to inspect hardware.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY — Wednesday, April 13 (All times EDT)
(Media must arrive at the Press Site by 7 p.m. The move will occur at
8 p.m. Media should be back at the Press Site by 10:30 p.m.)

– Rotating Service Structure will move in preparation for the tanking test, revealing Space Shuttle Discovery on Launch Pad 39B, lit by Xenon lights.

TANKING TEST — Thursday, April 14
(KSC Press Site opens at 5 a.m.)

– 5:30 a.m. EDT Tanking Test
Begins with live coverage on NASA TV. Periodic commentary status will occur every hour on the half hour, or as the situation demands.

– 4:30 p.m. EDT Press Conference with NASA Managers

  • Wayne Hale, deputy Space Shuttle Program manager
  • Mike Leinbach, NASA launch director
  • Neil Otte, chief engineer of the External Tank Project office

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY – Friday, April 15 (Media must arrive at the Press Site by 9 a.m.)

– Rotating Service Structure will still be open for photos of Space Shuttle Discovery on Launch Pad 39B.

KSC permanently badged media should contact the KSC Press Site (321/867-2468) by close of business Wednesday, April 13. Media without KSC credentials should submit their accreditation request for each event via the new online accreditation Web site at:

Media must be properly dressed in long pants and closed shoes with low heels. Sleeveless shirts are not allowed.

For the latest information on NASA’s Return to Flight efforts on the Internet, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.