STS-107 Safety Issue Being Worked

By Keith Cowing
January 10, 2003
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Internal NASA memo: “MP01/Alex McCool: The Shuttle Program is currently working one major safety
issue (cracked Orbiter ball strut) associated with the upcoming STS-107 Flight Readiness Review
this Thursday (1/9/03) and the subsequent launch on 1/16/03. MSFC employees put in long hours over the holiday break and worked in the spirit of One NASA with employees at other NASA Centers to test the Orbiter hardware and saw no potential issues as of this morning that would prohibit launch. The Shuttle Program team will reconvene this afternoon to assess the status of this issue.”

  • Space Shuttle Processing Status 9 Jan 2003

    “No inspections are planned on Columbia related to the BSTRA ball crack evaluation.”

  • Space Shuttle Processing Status 6 Jan 2003

    “Shuttle Processing Note: An engineering evaluation continues following the discovery late last year of a surface crack in a ball associated with a tie rod assembly inside of a 17-inch liquid oxygen line aboard Discovery. The crack was found during standard Orbiter Maintenance and Modification (OMM) inspections. The crack is located on a 2.25-inch diameter metal ball associated with the Ball Strut Tie Rod Assembly (BSTRA) inside Discovery’s 17-inch liquid oxygen line. Further inspections of similar assemblies in Discovery’s 17-inch and 12-inch lines have found no cracks. Inspections of Atlantis and Endeavour also have found no cracks. Tests using spare BSTRA ball assemblies are under way as part of the engineering evaluation and are not expected to be completed until later this week at the earliest. The ongoing evaluation has had no impact on shuttle launch preparations.”

  • Space Shuttle Processing Status 16 Dec 2002

    Shuttle Processing Note: During standard inspections that are performed on all shuttles as part of the Orbiter Maintenance and Modification (OMM) period, technicians found a crack earlier this week in a 2.25-inch diameter metal ball associated with a tie rod assembly inside Discovery’s 17-inch liquid oxygen line. The assembly, called the Ball Strut Tie Rod Assembly (BSTRA), is a type of flexible support located in the interior of the line downstream of the 17-inch disconnect. Several such assemblies are located in both the liquid oxygen and hydrogen lines of the orbiter. Further inspections of Discovery have revealed no additional cracks, although the inspections are continuing. An engineering analysis and evaluation of the situation is under way.

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