Status Report

NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Report 16 December 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
December 16, 2005
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NASA’s space shuttle fleet is housed and processed at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Mission: STS-121 – 18th ISS Flight (ULF1.1) – Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Vehicle: Discovery (OV-103)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3
Launch Date: No earlier than May 2006
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Lindsey, Kelly, Sellers, Fossum, Nowak, Wilson and Reiter Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Work continues for Discovery’s second mission in the Return to Flight sequence, STS-121. The orbiter boom sensor system, the 50-foot device used to inspect the shuttle’s heat shield, was installed in Discovery’s payload bay on Wednesday. Adjustments of the mechanical release latches will follow in the next few weeks. Inspections of windows 9 and 10 are complete, with no anomalies reported. Wire inspections and chafe protection installation continue on the vehicle’s steering jets used in space. The pull tests on the external fuel tank door latch were completed Tuesday.

Technicians continue to replace daily approximately 100 gap fillers in a main-priority area. New installation procedures are being used to ensure the gap fillers stay in place and do not pose a hazard during the shuttle’s re-entry to the atmosphere.

Mission: STS-115 – 19th ISS Flight (12A) – P3/P4 Solar Arrays
Vehicle: Atlantis (OV-104)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 1
Launch Date: TBD
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Jett, Ferguson, Tanner, Burbank, MacLean and Stefanyshyn-Piper Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Atlantis processing continues on schedule for its mission to the International Space Station. Freon coolant loop no. 1 was drained from the orbiter to allow a cold plate removal and replacement. The forward reaction control system, used for on orbit maneuvers, was installed last week and connections are complete. The mechanical release latches for the shuttle arm are being installed.

Thermal protection system gap-filler inspections and measurements continue in the forward and mid-body areas. Four reaction control system thrusters on the orbiter maneuvering system were replaced.

Endeavour (OV-105)

Technicians continue to process Endeavour in Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 2. Work on the modification of the elevon lightning protection is complete. The modification stabilized the flexible metal casing on the elevon wire harness. Endeavour was powered up on Monday after being down for about two months for wiring modifications.

Installation of the reinforced carbon carbon panels on wing leading edges continues. Technicians installed 15 panels on the left wing and 13 panels on the right wing. Preparation is under way for body flap installation next week. Testing of the vehicle’s Global Positioning System took place this week, and hydraulic leak checks began.

External Tank

Engineers continue evaluating the causes of foam loss during Discovery’s launch in July. Data has been gathered about the cracks in the protuberance air load (PAL) ramp of external tank 120. Engineers are focusing on flying the next shuttle mission without the PAL ramp. The removal could affect the ice frost ramp. It is another solid piece of foam like the PAL ramp. It supports the pre-pressurization lines running down the side of the tank adjacent to the PAL ramp. To ensure flight integrity, more testing, including wind-tunnel tests, will be done to identify an engineering solution. While work continues to target a May launch window, engineers will have more information on scheduling once the engineering fix is selected.

SpaceRef staff editor.