Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Discovery two weeks from move to assembly building

A summer of shuttles hidden inside Kennedy Space Center hangars is nearing an end with Discovery's planned move to the Vehicle Assembly Building two weeks from today.

NASA's fleet leader is preparing for a targeted Nov. 1 launch on its 39th and final scheduled flight, one of two or three shuttle missions remaining.

Technicians are wrapping up what has been a generally smooth processing flow for Discovery since its April 20 return from the STS-131 mission. (Atlantis completed the most recent mission in late May.)

Today, NASA reports work inside Orbiter Processing Facility No. 3 is focused on testing Discovery's cockpit display systems and pressurizing the main landing gear.

The vehicle's payload bay doors are closed ahead of the Sept. 8 rollover to the 52-story assembly building, where it will be connected to an external tank and two solid rocket boosters on a mobile launcher platform.

Following its assembly as a complete space shuttle, Discovery is expected to roll out to launch pad 39A on Sept. 21.

Discovery's last flight is scheduled to be an 11-day International Space Station resupply run that will leave behind a cargo module to serve as a walk-in storage closet. Two spacewalks are planned.

A spare radiator and the humanoid robot called Robonaut 2 are two of the other notable payloads. The six-person crew led by Steve Lindsey is scheduled to visit KSC for training in mid-October.

IMAGE: Shuttle Discovery lands on Runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center at 9:08 a.m. April 20, completing the 15-day STS-131 mission to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of spares, is it too late to include a spare amonia cooling system to replace the one that broke down last week?

Rick Steele,
Sarasota, Florida

Todd Halvorson said...


I think all the available spares already are onboard ISS......


Conor said...

How about bringing the failed one back for repair, and returning it to the ISS?