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Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington
(202) 358-3749

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

March 10, 2006
NASA's Space Shuttle Processing Status Report: S06-008
NASA's space shuttle fleet is housed and processed at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Mission: STS-121 - 18th International Space Station Flight (ULF1.1) - Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Vehicle: Discovery (OV-103)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3
Launch Date: No earlier than May 10, 2006
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Lindsey, Kelly, Sellers, Fossum, Nowak, Wilson and Reiter
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Final closeouts continue on Discovery in preparation for its roll over from Orbiter Processing Facility bay 3 to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Leak checks of the liquid oxygen system on space shuttle main engines No. 2 and 3 were successfully completed.

On March 4, space shuttle technicians inside a work platform device, called a bridge bucket, accidentally bumped into Discovery's remote manipulator system, or shuttle arm. The bridge bucket was being used in the payload bay to clean up pieces of glass from a broken heat lamp. That accident caused pieces of glass to fall into the payload bay.

Initial inspections showed two indentations in the arm's outer bumper, a honeycombed structure made of epoxy designed to protect it. One of the indentations is 0.115 inches deep and 1 inch long. The second indentation is 0.035 inches deep and 0.5 inches long. Inspections of the forward indentation were completed Thursday night, and no issues were found. The second indentation will be inspected today.

Mission: STS-115 - 19th International Space Station Flight (12A) - P3/P4 Solar Arrays
Vehicle: Atlantis (OV-104)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 1
Launch Date: No earlier than Aug. 28, 2006
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Jett, Ferguson, Tanner, Burbank, MacLean and Stefanyshyn-Piper
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Technicians continue processing Atlantis for its mission to the International Space Station. The vehicle remains in a scheduled powered-down period, with the next power-up as early as today. Power up will follow servicing of the water coolant loop. On Thursday, liquid oxygen leak checks began on the space shuttle main engines.

Endeavour (OV-105)

In Orbiter Processing Facility bay 2, work continues on Endeavour following an extensive modification period. The vehicle was powered up on Wednesday following a planned powered-down period. Power-up system testing is resuming.

On Tuesday, a technician preparing to perform X-rays on the rudder speed brake dropped a film processor on the left-hand side of the body flap, causing minimal tile damage. One tile was removed and will be replaced. Ultrasound inspections were performed, and there is no structural damage to the body flap.

External Tank

Final closeouts continue in the checkout cell of the VAB on the external tank that will fly with Discovery. The tank is designated ET-119. An "all systems" electrical checkout was conducted on the tank approximately one week prior to shipment from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to Kennedy.

Technicians noted a minimal difference from the expected reading on liquid hydrogen engine cutoff sensor No. 3. The sensors indicate whether the tank still has fuel during liftoff. While the reading was within acceptable limits, additional data evaluation is needed before the Space Shuttle Program makes any decisions regarding flight rationale.

A series of external tank wind tunnel tests began this week and will continue for several weeks. Analysis of the testing will be ongoing. For previous space shuttle processing status reports on the Web, visit:


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