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NASA managers will set a new launch date for Discovery within a week

NASA administrators are considering possible launch dates for the shuttle Discovery in late February to allow more time to repair the external fuel tank

Repair of the components connecting the oxygen and hydrogen tanks in the external fuel tank of the shuttle Discovery, STS-133. Photo: NASA
Repair of the components connecting the oxygen and hydrogen tanks in the external fuel tank of the shuttle Discovery, STS-133. Photo: NASA

NASA managers are looking at possible launch dates for the shuttle Discovery at the end of February and they are currently checking the locations of the space station during this period to see if it is possible to launch starting on February 24. More details will be provided in about a week, when the mission managers request to provide a new launch date at the end of the week.
Meanwhile, progress has been made in understanding the most likely cause of the cracks discovered in the central part of the external fuel tank - the part between the tanks, where small cracks developed during preparations for launch on the first attempt on November 5, 2010. Four more cracks were discovered during X-rays of the back of the launch after Discovery was returned to the shuttle train facility, Christmas Eve.
The plan is to continue the repair work into the weekend. The heads of the shuttle program want to fit another 32 reinforcements in the radius of the tank that will provide structural support in the areas that carry most of the structural load of the outer tank. These blocks will eventually match the route of the existing stringers and provide them with additional support. This is a known technology that has already been implemented in the past. Work should begin soon, in addition to repairs to the three damaged stringers and four small cracks that have already been completed.
On Monday, shuttle program managers will meet to review progress so far and plans for the future. They will also determine what is necessary and essential to install the perimeter blocks on all other stringers. In the meantime, they will also examine whether additional works are necessary. All these things require time and will probably cause you to miss the flight window at the beginning of February and wait until the end of the month. The launch dates for the Discovery flight as well as the Endeavor flight will be discussed on Tuesday in a separate meeting.

2 תגובות

  1. What are "stringers"? Don't they already know people who really know how to write in Hebrew?

  2. What an investment in the last flight.
    They will let it go and move on to the next flight after it.

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