Science and Technology News

Friday, November 19, 2010

GUCP Leak Test and Stringer Replacement on Tap Today

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians installed the 7-inch quick disconnect onto the ground umbilical carrier plate (GUCP) to fix a hydrogen gas leak that scrubbed space shuttle Discovery’s launch Nov. 5. Measurements were taken following the attachment. The 3/8-inch quick disconnects at the top of the GUCP and the vent line to the flare stack were attached overnight. Crews will leak check the vent line and retest the GUCP today.

Technicians have removed all fasteners for two, 21-foot-long support beams, called stringers, on the exterior of the external tank in an area known as the intertank. Preparations will begin today to install a new section of metal, called a doubler because it’s twice as thick as the original stringer metal, on the stringer that had the 9-inch cracks to replace the two cracked stringers.

Engineers continue evaluating the intertank for any potential issues, but so far no other cracks have been found beyond the ones on the two previously identified stringers. There are a total of 108 stringers on the intertank.

Senior managers plan to meet on Nov. 22 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and via video conference for a launch status briefing to assess and review the repair work and launch preparations. Although managers have not set a new target launch date for Discovery’s STS-133 mission to the International Space Station, the repair work and planning still are aimed at supporting an attempt in the upcoming launch window that opens Nov. 30.

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