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Allard Beutel
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-4769)

Jessica Rye
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

July 9, 2004
RELEASE : S04-19
Space Shuttle Processing Status Report: S04-19
The Space Shuttle fleet is housed and processed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla. The order the Space Shuttles are listed in this report does not necessarily reflect the chronological order of future missions.

Discovery (OV-103)

Technicians in the Orbiter Processing Facility continue work on Discovery prior to the vehicle coming out of its scheduled power-down period for its Return to Flight mission, designated STS-114. Following the replacement of the Rudder Speed Brake actuators on Discovery, all four panels are reinstalled. Now workers are rigging the lower panels for a standard optics shoot. This test ensures that the panels are reinstalled properly and will function correctly during the mission.

Dome Heat Shield (DHS) No. 1 is removed, while DHS No. 2 installation for fit check is complete. The DHS comprises two semicircular sections of Thermal Protection System tile mounted on an aluminum structure that are installed to make a ring around each of the three Space Shuttle Main Engines.

Atlantis (OV-104)

Atlantis continues to be processed in the Orbiter Processing Facility for its future mission to the International Space Station. The vehicle remains in a scheduled four-month power-down period in which Return to Flight modifications are progressing well.

On the right-hand wing leading edge, 13 spar fittings are now installed. The Reinforced Carbon-Carbon panels are mechanically attached to the wing with spar fittings, which are a series of floating joints to reduce stress on the panels when the Shuttles are in flight.

Chin panel installation is continuing. The chin panel is the smile-shaped section of Reinforced Carbon-Carbon that is installed directly below the nose cap to provide a thermal barrier during re-entry.

Endeavour (OV-105)

Space Shuttle Endeavour is in its Orbiter Major Modification period, which began last December. Electrical modifications continue in the crew module. The fit check of the nose cap is scheduled for today.

External Tank door and DHS tile bonds continue. Flex hose inspections have begun in the aft of the vehicle. Each vehicle has about 300 flex hoses, which are flexible metal hoses that connect between two fixed ends.

Right-hand wing leading-edge bead blasting is complete. Bead blasting is a process using a pressurized pneumatic gun containing silica carbide, plastic pellets or glass beads to remove primer, paint and corrosion from orbiter vehicle surfaces.

Previous Space Shuttle processing status reports are available on the Internet at:

For information about NASA's Return to Flight efforts on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:


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