Fri, Mar 31, 2006
Work Lamp Falls Onto Fuel Tank, Leaves Impressions In Foam
As if they didn't have enough to worry about... NASA engineers
are now dealing with another mishap at the Kennedy Space Center.
Earlier this week, as technicians were replacing one of the
external fuel tank's problematic fuel sensors, a
halogen work lamp fell onto the tank and hit the tank's relatively
fragile foam insulation.
Preliminary inspections show the impact left five small
indentations in the foam, with the largest being about the size of
a stick of gum. A 6" to 7" scratch was also seen in the foam, said
Lockheed Martin spokesperson Marion LaNasa to Reuters.
LaNasa added the incident is not expected to impact the targeted
July 1 launch date for the shuttle Discovery, although a detailed
inspection is now underway.
The affected area of the tank is not one of the sections that
were redesigned following the 2003 Columbia disaster, or again
after the July 2005 Discovery flight that showed additional
problems with the tank's foam insulation.
NASA has a series of wind tunnel tests and analyses planned
before the tank is signed off to fly on the next launch of
Discovery -- while technicians around Kennedy are treading extra
carefully after a string of mishaps over the past month have
resulted in damage to the shuttle's remote manipulator
arm, as well as the death of a worker.
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