Status Report

NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Report 9 December 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
December 9, 2005
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Discovery (OV-103)

Mission: STS-121 – 18th International Space Station Flight (ULF1.1)
Payload: Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
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

Processing continues for NASA’s second space shuttle mission in the Return to Flight sequence. Wire inspections and chafe protection installation continue on the vehicle’s reaction jet driver. The nose landing gear was cycled Thursday to support tile work on the shuttle’s heat shield.

The Orbiter Boom Sensor System is in the transfer aisle of the processing facility, awaiting installation in the vehicle. The boom installation has moved to next week to allow for final work on the pedestals and latches. Technicians continue to remove and replace gap fillers in a main priority area at a rate of about 100 gap fillers per day. This work is being performed due to two gap fillers that were protruding from the underside of Discovery on the first Return to Flight mission, STS-114. New installation procedures are being developed to ensure the gap fillers stay in place and do not pose any hazard during the shuttle’s re-entry to the atmosphere.

Engineers are evaluating data from two catch bottles that indicate higher levels of oxygen than expected in the shuttle’s aft compartment during this summer’s launch.

A total of six bottles automatically capture samples for two seconds in pairs at precise times after launch and through the first two minutes of flight. While the higher readings have been categorized as a formal in-flight anomaly, the readings could be a mistake in the analysis. During Discovery’s launch, all three main engines performed normally indicating there wasn’t a significant oxygen leak from the engines in the aft compartment. Engine performance and the catch bottles are the only way to detect in-flight leaks.

Atlantis (OV-104)

Mission: STS-115 – 19th International Space Station Flight (12A)
Payload: P3/P4 Solar Arrays
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

Technicians continue processing the mission to the International Space Station. Preparations are under way to drain Freon coolant loop No. 1 in support of a cold plate removal and replacement. The forward reaction control system was installed on Tuesday. This control system sits behind the nose cap and provides the thrust for rotational maneuvers and for small velocity changes along the orbiter axis.

Endeavour (OV-105)

In Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 2, technicians continue processing after a nearly two-year major modification period. Body flap preparations are nearing completion, with the body flap scheduled to be installed late next week. Installation of water spray boilers No. 1 and 2 continues, with work focused on the safety wiring. Wiring for the new external tank digital camera is ongoing. The vehicle will remain powered down for continued work on a new modification called the “station to shuttle power transfer system.” The new system will allow the vehicle to stay docked to the International Space Station for a longer time than previously possible.

SpaceRef staff editor.