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For release: 09-13-04
Release #: 04-232  

Space Shuttle External Tank slated to fly next spring ready for foam spray on intertank; a major step to return Shuttle to flight

Photo description: Workers guide External Tank 120 into the Vertical Assembly Building at Michoud Assembly Facility.

Workers at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have transferred External Tank 120 — the Space Shuttle External Tank slated for the launch of the orbiter Discovery next spring — into the facility's vehicle assembly building. The move — a major step toward returning the Space Shuttle to flight — brings the tank one step closer to its eventual transfer to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Photo: Workers guide External Tank 120 into the Vertical Assembly Building at Michoud Assembly Facility. (Lockheed Martin/NASA Michoud)


Workers at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have transferred External Tank 120 — the Space Shuttle External Tank slated for the launch of the orbiter Discovery next spring — into the facility's vehicle assembly building. The tank is erected vertically so that foam insulation can be applied on the liquid hydrogen tank-to-intertank flange area, a tank structural connection point. The foam will be applied with an enhanced finishing procedure that requires two technicians, a new mold-injection procedure to the intertank's ribbing and real-time videotaped surveillance of the process. The foam was removed from all existing tanks when the intertank area was identified as a potential debris-shedding source following the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew on Feb. 1, 2003. The move — a major step toward returning the Space Shuttle to flight — brings the tank one step closer to its eventual transfer to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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