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

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

NASA's Space Shuttle Processing Status Report
Note: NASA's Kennedy Space Center issues Space Shuttle Processing Status Reports each week, and is the source for information regarding processing activities associated with the vehicles and payloads. This report does not necessarily reflect the chronological order of future Space Shuttle missions. If you are a member of the media and would like further information, visit

Discovery (OV-103)

Mission: STS-121 - 18th International Space Station Flight (ULF1)
Payload: Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3
Launch Date: NET March 2006
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Lindsey, Kelly, Sellers, Fossum, Nowak, Wilson and Reiter
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Discovery is in Orbiter Processing Facility bay 3 with processing under way for the second space shuttle return to flight test mission, STS-121. Thermography and eddy current inspections continue on the 22 right-hand wing reinforced carbon-carbon panels.

The vehicle is scheduled to power up today to support fuel-cell coolant loop verification, water-spray boiler servicing and the port-side manipulator positioning mechanisms pedestal rigging. Ultrasound and eddy current inspections of the three main propulsion system flow liners are complete. These inspections will ensure no microscopic cracks were formed during the STS-114 launch and mission.

Atlantis (OV-104)

Mission: STS-115 - 19th International Space Station Flight (12A)
Payload: P3/P4 Solar Arrays
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility bay 1
Launch Date: TBD
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Jett, Ferguson, Tanner, Burbank, MacLean and Stefanyshyn-Piper
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Technicians continue to process orbiter Atlantis in Orbiter Processing Facility bay 1 for its mission to the International Space Station. The right-hand payload bay door was lowered to support stowing the KU-band antenna on Wednesday.

In the Space Station Processing Facility, the P3/P4 cargo element is undergoing testing to verify functionality for on-orbit operations. The test, known as a "startup test" was originally performed on the element in 2002. The element flight batteries were replaced earlier this year requiring another "startup test." In order to cool the batteries and dissipate the heat generated from the test, ammonia is circulated in a continuous loop from ground-support equipment chiller carts through the flight element.

In addition to testing functionality, an orbital rate capacity test is performed to determine the current capacity of the flight batteries. The capacity data is used to estimate battery capacity at time of launch and predict on-orbit battery life capacity. The P3/P4 cargo element will attach to the P1 Truss on the port side of the integrated truss segment of the station. With its two large solar arrays, P3/P4 will provide one-fourth of the total power generation capability of the completed station.

Endeavour (OV-105)

In Orbiter Processing Facility bay 2, orbiter Endeavour's electrical system was powered up Thursday after nearly two years. This power up signifies the end of Endeavour's orbiter major modification period that began in December 2003.

During this time, technicians spent 900,000 hours completing 124 modifications, including installing the new multi-functional electronic display system, or "glass cockpit," and all recommended return to flight safety additions. Eighty-five of the modifications have been completed, with work on the additional 39 upgrades continuing in the next few months.

Another large modification was the three-string global positioning system. The new system allows Endeavour to make an emergency landing at any runway, provided the runway is long enough to accept a space shuttle.

External Tank

External tank 120, the first redesigned tank to arrive at Kennedy Space Center, was lowered onto the transporter in the Vehicle Assembly Building on Sept. 29. It will wait there until Pegasus, NASA's specially designed barge for transporting tanks, returns to Kennedy Space Center. The barge just transported external tank 119 to NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans for modification. Workers will begin limited testing on both tanks as soon as they arrive.

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

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


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