Status Report

NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status 29 September 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
September 29, 2006
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NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status 29 September 2006

Note: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center issues Space Shuttle Processing Status Reports periodically and is the source for information regarding processing activities associated with the vehicles and payloads. If you are a member of the media and would like further information, visit:

Mission: STS-116 – 20th International Space Station Flight (12A.1) – P5 Truss Segment
Vehicle: Discovery (OV-103)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3
Launch Date: No earlier than Dec. 7, 2006
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Polansky, Oefelein, Curbeam, Higginbotham, Patrick, Fuglesang and Williams
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

During today’s Program Requirements Control Board meeting, Space Shuttle Program management moved the target launch date for Discovery to no earlier than Dec. 7, a week earlier than originally planned. This change allows for workers at both Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center to enjoy additional time with their families during the December holidays. At this time, there is currently a range conflict with an Atlas V launch, which is currently on the range on December 8 and 9.

NASA will work with Lockheed-Martin and the Air Force to determine whether we will have a launch opportunity on December 7. Until this negotiation is complete, we understand that December 7th is a target and that we are not on the range schedule at this time. As always, the official launch date is not set until the Flight Readiness Review.

Technicians continue processing Discovery in the Orbiter Processing Facility for its launch to the International Space Station. The keel yoke assembly was installed in the payload bay last weekend. The assembly holds the payload in the bay during the mission. Workers completed the payload premate test in preparation of the Spacehab module being installed in the payload bay. Engineers are reviewing potential damage to orbiter Discovery’s right-hand external tank door mechanism, which resulted during the process of reassembling the linkage following the change out of the power drive unit. No impact to the processing schedule is expected.

The external tank scheduled to fly with Discovery, designated ET-123, arrived by barge at Kennedy Space Center from Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans last week. The tank was lifted into the checkout cell in the Vehicle Assembly Building for final work prior to being mated to the solid rocket boosters.

Mission: STS-117 – 21st International Space Station Flight (13A) – S3/S4 Truss Segment Solar Arrays
Vehicle: Atlantis (OV-104)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 1
Launch Date: No earlier than Feb. 22, 2007
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Sturckow, Archambault, Reilly, Forrester, Swanson and Olivas
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Following the landing of Atlantis on Sept. 21, technicians towed the vehicle into the Orbiter Processing Facility to begin preparing it for its next mission to the International Space Station. Thermal protection system post-flight inspection is 27 percent complete. Flight crew equipment removal was completed Monday.

Technicians installed payload bay door strongbacks on Monday in preparation for the doors to open. On Wednesday, the doors were opened and the Ku-band antenna was deployed. Nose cap and chin panel thermography has begun and preparations are under way to begin thermography on the wing leading edges.

Endeavour (OV-105)

Endeavour remains powered down in Orbiter Processing Facility bay 2 and technicians continue to prepare the vehicle for its first launch following an extensive modification period. Technicians completed the environmental control and life support system functional test.

Work continues on the orbiter boom sensor system manipulator positioning mechanism. The mechanisms serve as the pedestals that hold the boom in place in the payload bay when it is not in use.

SpaceRef staff editor.