Status Report

NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Report 24 March 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
March 25, 2006
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NASA’s space shuttle fleet is housed and processed at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Mission: STS-121 – 18th International Space Station Flight (ULF1.1) – Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Vehicle: Discovery (OV-103)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3
Launch Date: Launch Planning Window July 1-19, 2006
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Lindsey, Kelly, Sellers, Fossum, Nowak, Wilson and Reiter
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Technicians continue to process Discovery and close out completed areas for its launch to the International Space Station. The seven-member STS-121 crew was at Kennedy on Monday for the station crew equipment interface test. This standard test provides the crew with hands-on experiences with equipment that will be used on orbit.

Final closeouts of the space shuttle main engines continue with thermal protection system foaming operations around the engines. Technicians removed and replaced windows No. 3 and 5. Work continues in the payload bay in preparation for reinstallation of the remote manipulator system, or shuttle arm. The repaired arm is scheduled to return to Kennedy from the vendor in Canada in early April.

Mission: STS-115 – 19th International Space Station Flight (12A) – P3/P4 Solar Arrays
Vehicle: Atlantis (OV-104)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 1
Launch Date: No earlier than Aug. 28, 2006 Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Jett, Ferguson, Tanner, Burbank, MacLean and Stefanyshyn-Piper
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Technicians continue to perform powered-up system testing on Atlantis for its mission to the International Space Station. The final space shuttle main engine is scheduled to be installed in early April, and then final main propulsion leak checks will be performed. Global positioning system functional checks are scheduled to resume today. Removal and replacement of the water coolant loop No. 2 pump package was completed Wednesday. Following the installation of the pump package, the system was retested, and leak checks were completed.

Endeavour (OV-105)

Work continues on Endeavour in Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 2, following an extensive modification period. Technicians continued implementing the new return-to-flight modifications that have been added to the other two vehicles. Upgrades include the orbiter boom sensor system, sensors in the wing leading edges, and the new digital camera to view the external tank.

Fuel cell No. 2 installation is scheduled to begin as early as March 29. Endeavour’s external airlock arrived at Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday and is set to be installed into the payload bay in early April.

External Tank

The external tank that will fly with Discovery on the STS-121 mission is in the Vehicle Assembly Building checkout cell where work is scheduled to begin on Monday. Technicians will remove and replace the external tank’s four liquid hydrogen engine cutoff sensors, which indicate whether the tank still has fuel during its climb to orbit.

The replacement will be performed by the technicians from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility who are most familiar with this particular work. This work will take approximately 22 days to complete. On Monday, the technicians will begin removing the foam on the bottom of the tank and then remove a cover, called the “manhole.” This will provide access to the area to begin the removal and replacement of the sensors.

SpaceRef staff editor.