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Melissa Mathews
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1272)

Oct. 8, 2004
RELEASE : S04-033
Space Shuttle Processing Status Report: S04-033
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)

Processing continues in the Orbiter Processing Facility for Discovery's Return to Flight mission. Throughout the week, significant progress was made on orbiter system testing. Technicians continue to bond the new wing leading edge sensors on the interior of the Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) panels. Optics tests continue, with the alignment of the Manipulator Positioning Mechanisms, in preparation for the Remote Manipulator System (Space Shuttle arm) installation.

Top NASA and Shuttle management met on Oct. 1. They determined the March/April target launch window for Return to Flight is not achievable, due to the impact of recent hurricanes on agency centers. The council directed the Space Shuttle Program to assess how it would meet Return to Flight milestones for the next available launch window, which opens May 14, 2005. The Shuttle program will present its analysis at a late October leadership council meeting.

Atlantis (OV-104)

Atlantis is in a four-month power-down period. The critical path wiring inspections and Return to Flight electrical modifications continue on schedule. Structural and wire inspections are ongoing throughout the vehicle.

All right-hand radiators have been installed. Work starts on the left-hand radiators next week. Right-hand spar fittings have all been installed, with the full complement of 22 RCC panels hung on the vehicle. The left-hand wing leading edge is complete, including the T-seals, which are installed between each panel.

Endeavour (OV-105)

Space Shuttle Endeavour is in its Orbiter Major Modification period, which began in December. Electrical modifications continue in the crew module. Three-String Global Positioning System wire routing in the avionics bay and flight deck continues.

Right and left-hand wing leading edge corrosion cleanup continues. Once the RCC panels and associated fittings were removed, technicians began to bead blast the wing leading edge of Endeavour to ensure there was no corrosion. The edge will be painted prior to the reinstallation of RCC panels for flight. While the panels are removed, they are undergoing extensive non-destructive testing including flash thermography and X-rays.

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