Sat, Jun 13, 2009
Gaseous Hydrogen Leak Creates Launch Hazard
A gaseous hydrogen leak on a vent line for space shuttle
Endeavour is postponing Saturday morning's launch of Endeavour. The
official scrub time was 0026 EDT. Launch teams began draining
Endeavour's external fuel tank of its liquid hydrogen and liquid
oxygen at 0006.
Fueling was halted after the leak was detected near the Ground
Umbilical Carrier Plate, or GUCP, which attached to the external
tank at its intertank area. The line leads from the GUCP back to
the launch pad and to the "flare stack" where vented gaseous
hydrogen is burned off.
The leak is similar to what happened during the first launch
attempt of space shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission in March.
After the leak is assessed, shuttle managers plan to meet
Saturday morning to discuss what steps to take next, including
targeting a new launch date for Endeavour's STS-127 mission to the
International Space Station, though current estimates indicate that
another launch attempt is at least 96 hours off.
Mission STS-127 is the 32nd flight dedicated to station
construction, and the final of a series of three flights dedicated
to the assembly of the Japanese Kibo laboratory complex.The STS-127
payload is the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility and
Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section.
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