Sunday, August 02, 2009

Faulty Valve Triggers One-Day Shuttle Rollout Delay

Shuttle Discovery's rollout to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center is being delayed for 24 hours as a result of a faulty valve in the steering system of one of its twin solid rocket boosters.

Mounted atop a mobile launcher platform, the shuttle had been slated to be hauled out of the KSC Vehicle Assembly Building by a giant tracked transporter at 12:01 a.m. Monday. But the faulty valve was discovered during routine testing Saturday, and the time taken to assess the situation and map out a course of action resulted in a decision to slip the rollout to 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Discovery remains scheduled to launch Aug. 25 on an outfitting mission to the International Space Station. The astronauts who will fly the STS-128 mission still are scheduled to fly to KSC this week to take part in a two-day practice countdown.

The valve in question is located within the left solid rocket booster Hydraulic Power United, which provides the hydraulic power needed to steer the booster's bell-shaped nozzle during flight. The valve is to be replaced at launch pad 39A.

Discovery's flight is one of seven station assembly or outfitting missions remaining before NASA's shuttle fleet is retired at the end of 2010.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge and save the NASA image. It shows Discovery being lowered into place atop a mobile launcher platform in High Bay No. 1 of the Vehicle Assembly Building. The orbiter then was connected to an external tank ith attached solid rocket boosters. Photo Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky.

1 comment:

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