Sunday, July 26, 2009

Discovery Rolls Into Vehicle Assembly Building

The orbiter Discovery is in the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building this morning after a move from its nearby processing hangar.

Mounted atop a 76-wheel transporter, the orbiter backed out of its Orbiter Processing Facility bay around 7:22 am. and rolled into the 52-story assembly building about an hour later.

Discovery will be mated an external tank with two attached solid rocket boosters and then rolled out to launch pad 39A in about a week. A series of tests to verify mechanical and electrical connections between shuttle components will be performed in the assembly building during the coming week.

Discovery is tentatively to launch around Aug. 25 on an International Space Station outfitting mission.

Discovery had been slated to move to the assembly building earlier this week, but the trip was delayed so engineers could perform tests on its external tank, designated ET-132.

NASA noted an unusual amount of foam loss from the intertank area of Endeavour's tank and wanted to perform tests on Discovery's tank as part of an investigation into the root cause of the problem.

NASA also wanted to make certain the problem would not repeat itself on Discovery's flight.

Engineers have conducted dozens of tests on the tank and the intertank foam on Discovery's tank is properly bonded to a substrate primer on the skin of the aluminum lithium tank.

ABOUT THE IMAGES: Click to enlarge the Associated Press image of Discovery's last launch on the STS-119 launch back in March. Longtime shuttle watchers thought this launch was one of the prettiest in the history of the shuttle program.


Anonymous said...

They have stated Friday that August 25 is the no earlier than date.

Todd Halvorson said...

You're right. I've fixed the item.