Sat, May 21, 2005
Should Be Go For Launch On Schedule
NASA's Kennedy Space
Center launch team conducted a fueling test Friday that produced
good data for the engineers. Shuttle managers are confident that
any issues can be worked out in time for the scheduled July launch.
The team pumped more than 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and
liquid hydrogen into the tank for the test before simulating most
of the countdown checks.
"We got enough information from this test to come to some
conclusions, and my feeling is this team will be able to work its
way through this data and determine what the issues are," said
shuttle program manager Bill Parsons, according to Florida Today.
"Nothing I've seen so far" indicates a need to delay the launch, he
The test goal was to solve problems with sensors and valves that
were discovered in an April test. The engine cutoff sensors worked
correctly in the test after some wires and connectors were replaced
that were suspected to be faulty. Intermittent readings from the
sensors could have caused an early engine shutdown and an emergency
landing in a real flight.
The problem with a pressure-relief valve cycling too often
repeated itself Friday, leading NASA to suspect a diffuser that was
made differently than ones that flew in prior missions. The
replacement tank has the old style of diffuser. Tests with a new
heater on or off produced the same results.
NASA will roll Discovery back to the Vehicle Assembly Building on
Tuesday to swap tanks and solid rocket boosters. Discovery is
scheduled to return to the launch pad in the middle of June for a
launch scheduled between July 13th and July 31st.
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