Tue, Jan 18, 2005
The Latest On NASA's Return To Flight Effort
The Space Shuttle fleet is housed and processed at NASA's
Kennedy Space Center (KSC), FL. The order the Space Shuttles are
listed in this report does not necessarily reflect the
chronological order of future missions.
Technicians continue system testing in support of Discovery's
roll over to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) in March for the
Return to Flight mission, designated STS-114, to the International
Space Station. The dome mounted heat shields, the semi-circle
sections of Thermal Protection System tile that are bolted around
the engine interfaces, have been installed for flight.
The new Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) is in the Remote
Manipulator System lab in the VAB for final checkout and testing.
It is scheduled to be moved over to the Orbiter Processing Facility
(OPF) and installed on Discovery next week. The 50-foot-long OBSS
will attach to the Remote Manipulator System, or Shuttle robotic
arm, and is one of the new safety measures for Return to Flight,
equipping the orbiter with cameras and laser systems to inspect the
Shuttle's Thermal Protection System while in space.
Stacking of the Solid Rocket Boosters for the STS-114 mission is
complete and the team is continuing with closeouts. Following the
arrival of the redesigned External Tank at Kennedy Space Center on
Jan. 5, the tank was moved to the VAB and lifted into the checkout
cell for final processing. Technicians are beginning preparations
for the aft hard-point closeout spray and should begin that task
Processing of Atlantis for its mission to the International
Space Station continues to progress well with orbiter system
testing now under way. The Rudder Speed Brake actuators and panels
are installed and the optics checks are complete and good.
Fuel cells No. 2 and 3 are installed. Fuel cells use oxygen and
hydrogen to provide electrical power and water during a mission.
The airlock is scheduled to be installed this weekend and the
Forward Reaction Control System will be installed as early as next
Space Shuttle Endeavour is in its Orbiter Major Modification
period, which began in December 2003. Endeavour was moved from the
Vehicle Assembly Building back to the Orbiter Processing Facility
on Jan. 12 following the completion of a scheduled maintenance
period in the bay. When Endeavour was rolled back into the bay,
there was a technical problem with the communications equipment and
the tug driver did not clearly hear the "stop" command. The orbiter
rolled 2-4 inches past its normal location and one tile on the
leading edge of the vertical stabilizer came into contact with a
work platform. There was no structural damage, and the tile will be
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