Text Size

Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: (202) 358-3749

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 (ULF1.1)
Payload: Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3
Launch Date: No earlier than May 2006
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Lindsey, Kelly, Sellers, Fossum, Nowak, Wilson and Reiter
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Technicians worked on inspections and closeouts prior to next week's installation of the forward reaction control system. Installation of the dome-mounted heat shields that surround the shuttle's three engines will begin when main engine leak checks are complete.

Removal and replacement of gap fillers is complete in the priority one areas (forward and midbody sections of the vehicle). Work will begin next week on the gap fillers in other areas on the orbiter's belly. Technicians are using new installation procedures to ensure the gap fillers stay in place during the shuttle's re-entry to the atmosphere.

Solid rocket booster stacking for STS-121 is under way. Both the left and right aft boosters were delivered to the Vehicle Assembly Building this week and placed on the Mobile Launch Platform in High Bay 3. The aft segments were bolted to the platform, and work has begun to stack the left and right aft center segments.

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

Power down operations continue. Cold plate removal and replacement in the shuttle's aft were completed this week. Cold plates keep electronics boxes cool. The mechanical release latches for the shuttle arm (remote manipulator system) are installed, and pre-load tests are under way.

Removal and replacement of Atlantis' gap fillers began this week in the priority one area. One of two reaction jet drivers located in the shuttle's aft was installed. These drivers power the reaction control thrusters of the orbiter maneuvering system pods while in orbit. Technicians removed mid-power control assembly #2 and #3 for inspection. These units are part of the system that controls power distribution in the orbiter.

Endeavour (OV-105)

In Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 2, processing continues on Endeavour following a nearly two-year modification period. This week, technicians leveled the shuttle in preparation for the Heads Up Display (HUD) alignment. The HUD is the device used to optically align the orbiter for landing.

Preparations for power up are in work. All wiring tests and connector mates are complete. Technicians are finishing the installation of body flap hardware.

Work continues on the manipulator positioning mechanism for the shuttle's robotic arm before installation in the vehicle. The mechanisms are pedestals that keep the arm secured in the payload bay when it's not in use.

External Tank

NASA has adjusted its contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems to produce 18 instead of 35 shuttle external fuel tanks. This reduction aligns the contract with the Space Shuttle Program's planned missions through 2010.

For previous space shuttle processing status reports on the Web, visit:

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

- end -

text-only version of this release

To receive status reports and news releases issued from the Kennedy Space Center Newsroom electronically, send a blank e-mail message to To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail message to The system will confirm your request via e-mail.