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Allard Beutel/Melissa Mathews
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-4769/1272)

Jessica Rye
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(321) 867-6185

Space Shuttle Processing Status Report
Note: 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 continue system testing in support of Discovery's roll over to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) in March for the Return to Flight mission, designated STS-114, to the International Space Station. The dome mounted heat shields, the semi-circle sections of Thermal Protection System tile that are bolted around the engine interfaces, have been installed for flight.

The new Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) is in the Remote Manipulator System lab in the VAB for final checkout and testing. It is scheduled to be moved over to the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) and installed on Discovery next week. The 50-foot-long OBSS will attach to the Remote Manipulator System, or Shuttle robotic arm, and is one of the new safety measures for Return to Flight, equipping the orbiter with cameras and laser systems to inspect the Shuttle's Thermal Protection System while in space.

Stacking of the Solid Rocket Boosters for the STS-114 mission is complete and the team is continuing with closeouts. Following the arrival of the redesigned External Tank at Kennedy Space Center on Jan. 5, the tank was moved to the VAB and lifted into the checkout cell for final processing. Technicians are beginning preparations for the aft hard-point closeout spray and should begin that task this weekend.

Atlantis (OV-104)

Processing of Atlantis for its mission to the International Space Station continues to progress well with orbiter system testing now under way. The Rudder Speed Brake actuators and panels are installed and the optics checks are complete and good.

Fuel cells No. 2 and 3 are installed. Fuel cells use oxygen and hydrogen to provide electrical power and water during a mission. The airlock is scheduled to be installed this weekend and the Forward Reaction Control System will be installed as early as next week.

Endeavour (OV-105)

Space Shuttle Endeavour is in its Orbiter Major Modification period, which began in December 2003. Endeavour was moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building back to the Orbiter Processing Facility on Jan. 12 following the completion of a scheduled maintenance period in the bay. When Endeavour was rolled back into the bay, there was a technical problem with the communications equipment and the tug driver did not clearly hear the "stop" command. The orbiter rolled 2-4 inches past its normal location and one tile on the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer came into contact with a work platform. There was no structural damage, and the tile will be repaired.

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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