DISCOVERY LAUNCH NO EARLIER THAN FEBRUARY 3
Space shuttle Discovery’s launch for the STS-133 mission has been targeted for no earlier than February 3, 2011 to allow for more testing on two 21-foot-long, U-shaped aluminum brackets, called stringers, on the shuttle's external tank. NASA repaired the cracks and reapplied foam to the exterior of the stringers.
Engineers will continue to search for the root cause of the stringer cracks through data analysis and tests, including placement of manufacturing defects in separate stringers to demonstrate structural integrity in an effort to duplicate the same type of failure that occurred in November. Engineers and technicians will also inspect the tank for evidence of any foam cracking as it would on an actual launch day. Because of Discovery's delayed launch, the earliest opportunity for the liftoff of the final scheduled shuttle mission, STS-134 on Endeavour, is April 1.
Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations
John Shannon, Space Shuttle Program manager
Center Contact: Kyle Herring, 281-483-8653
HQ Contact: Michael Curie, 202-358-1100
For more info: www.nasa.gov/shuttle
Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Space Operations
Cut 1 - (00:14) – “These test stand to really move us forward, we are at that point in the troubleshooting to where we have to go add these additional tests, we will take the time to go do that, and we take the time to get ready to go fly, when it’s time to go fly, so we’re setting the next launch date tentative around Feb. 3. “
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John Shannon, Space Shuttle Program Manager
Cut 2 - (00:19)- “ We’ve hit a point where there is no obvious answer as to what occurred. What that means is that we have to take the next step. And, we have to look in greater detail, to understand what types of stresses you can put on these stringers during the assembly process, see how they could line up, and add stress to that stringer. And, we have to do that through a demonstration; analysis is not going to get us there.”
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