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NASA Managers Discuss Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-133 Mission
Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, and Space Shuttle Program Manager John Shannon discuss the status of the next space shuttle mission in a news conference from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA managers discussed the progress of repairs since Discovery's launch on its STS-133 mission to the International Space Station was delayed Nov. 5.

The news conference followed Wednesday's Space Shuttle Program Requirements Control Board at which program officials reviewed repairs and ongoing engineering evaluations associated with cracks on two 21-foot-long, U-shaped aluminum brackets, called stringers, on the shuttle's external tank.

Center Contact: Kyle Herring, 281-483-5111

HQ Contact: Stephanie Schierholz, 202-358-1100

Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Space Operations

(:17)  This is turning out to be a little more complicated from an analysis standpoint and it doesn't lend itself to a very easy answer, but again I think the teams are working through this methodically.  They're not going to rush to any kind of conlusions or any decisions that are not right until they really got those supported by good data and analysis. 
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(:13)  And against we're going to do like we do with all these problems, we'll let the data drive where we're heading.  We won't pick a partcular launch opportunity.  We'll be aware of where the launches are but we'll let the data, the analysis, and the work ahead of us kind of drive where we go. 
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John Shannon, Space Shuttle Program Manager

(:26)  We told the agency leadership that clearly we're not ready for the December, 3-7 window that's coming up.  Over this next week we'll be a lot further down the road in each of those pieces that I identified.  We're going to leave the option open for the next launch window which starts December 17th, but a lot of data has to come together for us to support that. 
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(:12)  I don't think the team is worried about any specific launch date at all, right now.  They're just worried about getting the proper data so we can determine what our risk exposure is to this problem. 
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(:21)  What happened the first time we loaded the tank, is when that first bending moment started on the stringer, a crack appeared along one of the feet of the stringer and the stringer basicially cracked on the other side in an over load condition and popped out about half of an inch...
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