Science and Technology News

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Discovery Tank Scans Complete, New Small Cracks Detected

Technicians in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are essentially done with the latest round of X-ray type image scans of space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank.

The computed radiography images of all 108 support beams, called stringers, on the outside of the external tank’s intertank section, which technicians began taking Sunday, are being evaluated by engineers.

However, preliminary analysis indicates small cracks were detected on the tops of three stringers on panel 6, which is on the opposite side of the tank from Discovery.  The newly detected cracks currently are under evaluation and there has been no decisions on what affect, if any, the these cracks will make on future plans.

The new data, along with previous testing and analysis, will help engineers and managers determine what caused other small cracks on the tops of two stringers during Discovery’s launch countdown on Nov. 5.

Space Shuttle Program managers are meeting this afternoon to decide whether testing and analysis indicate modifications are needed on some of the stringers. If required, modifications would begin next Monday (Jan. 3).

This article was sponsored by Police Technology.

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