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Allard Beutel/Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-4769/1272)

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

June 9, 2005
NASA's Space Shuttle Processing Status Report
NASA's Space Shuttle fleet is housed and processed at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla.

Mission: STS-114 - 17th ISS Flight (LF1) - Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Vehicle: Discovery (OV-103)
Location: Vehicle Assembly Building
Launch Date: Launch Planning Window July 13 - 31, 2005
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Collins, Kelly, Noguchi, Robinson, Thomas, Lawrence and Camarda
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

On Tuesday in the VAB, Discovery was mated with a new External Tank (ET-121). Final closeouts and integration tests are being performed. Discovery is scheduled to begin the four-mile journey to Launch Pad 39B at 3 a.m. EDT, June 14.

After several weeks of data evaluation from two previous tanking tests, program managers decided not to do another one prior to Discovery's launch. They reviewed data from two previous tests on ET-120, Discovery's original tank.

One major change to Discovery's new ET is the addition of a heater on the feedline bellows to prevent ice forming during fueling and launch. The bellows is a joint on the outside of the tank, not insulated with foam, to allow expansion, contraction and movement during fueling of super-cold liquid oxygen before launch. The line feeds oxygen to the Shuttle main engines at start-up and throughout the 8.5 minute climb to orbit.

Another change to the ET is in the hydrogen diffuser. A diffuser is a fabricated tube, which consists of a core and screen assembly. It diverts the flow into radial jets that are dispersed by the wire screen. There are two diffusers per ET at the top of the hydrogen and oxygen tanks. Discovery's new ET uses a certified plain, two wire weave. ET-120 had a tighter woven mesh than was expected. The data review showed the out-of-specification diffuser may have been the contributing cause of a liquid hydrogen pressurization problem. A vent valve cycled 13 times during the tanking tests, versus the standard eight to nine times. The valve opens and closes to ensure the liquid hydrogen stays at the correct pressure in the final two minutes prior to launch.

Discovery's new ET originally was planned to fly with Atlantis on the second Return to Flight mission, STS-121. A decision will be made next week as to which External Tank, ET-120 or 119, will be used for STS-121.

In the Space Station Processing Facility, work on resupply stowage rack fasteners inside the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello is complete. The hatch was closed for flight Monday. Raffaello is scheduled to be installed in the Payload Transportation Canister today, and it is set to be rotated to the vertical position over the weekend. Payloads transfer to Launch Pad 39B is scheduled for June 13. Discovery's launch date will be selected after the Flight Readiness Review June 29-30.

Mission: STS-121 - 18th ISS Flight (ULF1) - Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Vehicle: Atlantis (OV-104)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 1
Launch Date: Lighted Launch Planning Window September 9 - 24, 2005
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Lindsey, Kelly, Sellers, Fossum, Nowak and Wilson
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Power-up system testing is 95 percent complete on Atlantis. Forward, mid-body and aft-area closeouts continue. Atlantis is scheduled to be rolled from the processing facility to the VAB in mid-July.

Technicians continue to bond Thermal Protection System tiles to Atlantis, with only nine tiles remaining. Work on the Rudder Speed Brake (RSB) is complete. The 14-month process included removing, inspecting and reinstalling the four RSB actuators and panels, and the Thermal Protection System blankets. While the panels were removed, they were bead blasted and painted for additional corrosion control.

Technicians began cleaning the payload bay in preparation for final door closing June 14. The landing gear functional test is scheduled for next week.

Endeavour (OV-105)

Endeavour is in its Orbiter Major Modification period which began in December 2003.

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


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