Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cold again delays Discovery's rollover, to Sunday

Cold weather has again delayed Discovery's move into Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building, tightening the schedule to prepare the shuttle for a targeted March 18 launch.

The quarter-mile move from Orbiter Processing Facility No. 3 will now take place no earlier than 5 p.m. Sunday.

The orbiter can't be exposed to temperatures below 45 degrees for more than four hours, and would be without warm air purges during the move known as rollover. The cold could cause thruster leaks, KSC officials said.

If the rollover occurs Sunday, the shuttle's roll to launch pad 39A would typically follow a week later, on Feb. 21.

That would leave no contingency days leading up to the targeted March 18 launch date, though processing teams may be able to adjust work schedules to create some.

Discovery is getting ready to fly the year's second shuttle flight, one of four remaining after Endeavour's return before NASA retires the shuttle fleet.

Click here to link to an update posted Wednesday on some of the key milestones leading up to the launch.

There's no word yet if the delays to rollover and rollout will affect any of the other dates.

IMAGE NOTE: In Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3 at Kennedy Space Center on Dec. 10, space shuttle Discovery's Forward Reaction Control System, or FRCS, has been returned to its proper place on the shuttle's frame. Discovery is being prepared for the STS-131 mission, the 33rd flight to the International Space Station. The seven-member STS-131 crew will deliver a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module filled with resupply stowage platforms and racks to be transferred to locations around the station. Discovery's launch is targeted for March 18, 2010. Photo credit: NASA/Amanda Diller


Matt said...

I'm guessing there cant be much of a pad turnaround if discovery does roll over on Sunday and out to the pad a week later. Would I be wrong on that??

Todd Halvorson said...

Matt: There's not a lot of pad turnaround required. My understanding is that the pad came through the Endeavour launch without significant damage.