Friday, November 12, 2010

Another crack found on Discovery's external tank

Inspectors have found another cracked part on Discovery's external tank, adjacent to the one already identified.

The cracks are on vertical aluminum strips called "stringers" that line the tank's ridged "intertank," which provides structural support between the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen reservoirs.

A three-inch crack was found on the stringer immediately to the left of the first one found to be damaged, which had two nine-inch cracks on either side of it.

The first cracks were spotted after the orange insulating foam covering them cracked while Discovery was fueled for launch last Friday. That launch attempt scrubbed because of a hydrogen gas leak.

Anticipating that the cracked stringer could have shifted loads to neighboring ones, engineers expanded their inspections. The new crack was found in the stringer immediately to the left of the first; the one to the right was not damaged. There was no foam damage on either side.

Engineers are using the information to help model how all the stringers behaved during the fueling process.

The additional crack does not immediately change NASA's expectation that repairs can be completed at launch pad 39A and in time to launch Discovery during a window between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6.

Also today at the launch pad, technicians installed a new plate on the external tank where a hydrogen gas vent line will be attached. The old plate may have been responsible for a leak that scrubbed last Friday's launch attempt.

IMAGE: At launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, a worker examined the foam insulation on Discovery's external fuel tank. Two cracks on a section of the tank’s metal exterior were found on one of the stringers, which are the composite aluminum ribs located vertically on the tank’s intertank area. Credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think many were wondering about the status of the other stringers. Rather hard not to. The drama continues...

Anonymous said...

Earth to Antagonist...waiting for your lame anti NASA garbage...

Anonymous said...

nothing to say kind of speaks for itself. doesn't it.

Anonymous said...

Think they better retire this thing--- NOW

Anonymous said...

Or what? You might as well retire all the cars, trains, buses, airplanes, and skateboards, too. Idiot.

Anonymous said...

I support the program ... but 9:43, equating any manned spacecraft to "cars, trains, busses, airplanes or skateboards"
indicates an individual that has permanantly forfeited the right to call anyone "idiot".

Anonymous said...

I love the shuttle program but is this an attempt to prolong jobs?

Anonymous said...

Prolong jobs by what means? Sabotage?

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'd want to hitch a ride on this one.

Anonymous said...

Not sabotage...but planned incompetence....just like the 11 months of 'delays' in processing the final Titan IV launch.....

Anonymous said...

tank will get fixed, GUCP seal will get replaced, we will fly safely soon... we are not delaying anything..we know our jobs are gone soon..we just want to finish the programm safely and be proud...plain and simple.. i am a USA employee

Anonymous said...

When this tank was manufactured, the workers at the Michaud Assembly Facility were still trying to recover from Katrina. On top of the stress they were already living with was the knowledge that every day they showed up for work could be their last.

I believe that those fine workers tried to do their jobs in as professional manner as possible, but it makes you wonder just how many little things might be wrong with not only the ET, but the STS as a whole.

MARY said...

RETIRE THIS THING AND PUT IT ON DISPLAY IN MUSEUM NOW!!!! THERE IS TOO MUCH GOING WRONG WITH THIS I WOULD NOT GO UP IN THAT IF THEY PAID ME IT'S TOO OLD ALREADY RETIRE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD DON'T WANT YOU PEOPLE TO GO UP ANY MORE CAN'T YOU SEE THAT???

Anonymous said...

I'd gladly sign up to take a ride on the Space Shuttle!

Anonymous said...

Mary learn proper punctuation skills and proper grammer. Runon sentence anyone? Just as bad as Antagonist.

Anonymous said...

What is a "Runon" sentence?

Anonymous said...

How come no one is asking the obvious? Why are there cracks on something that has not undergone stress? I would think being delivered to the cape and sitting on the pad is rather benign compared to the in-flight dynamics.

Anonymous said...

The external tanks under go stress tests before being shipped. The cracks apparently appeared after the tanks were being filled exposing the stringers to extreme cold tempertures.
The details are still being investigated.

Anonymous said...

Wow! How convenient! Let's delay this one to February so we can delay the next one to May so we will be in line to launch the extra mission for next Sept 30! That way the workers get a free extra year on the job! And people wonder why us taxpayers are so fed up with NASA! The shuttle program was supposed to have completed ten years ago! NASA told us so in the 80s (don't believe me, you can look at the master plans they published)! But, no, this is "cutting edge tehcnology" (it was 30 years ago) so we must accept this as the cost of spaceflight!

Honest to God, NASA has been the worst run and over budget public organization since the Fire Department in Rome while Nero burned. At least since 1975. Before then, we can be proud of what they did. Since then, insofar as manned spaceflight, a disaster. The space shuttle was a failure since the moment it was conceived.

Please, if anything, let's retire the glider and bring back a capsule as fast as humanly possible. Only a mother can continue to love this ugly baby.

Signed, microwave tom

Anonymous said...

Look, I have one more thing to say, the federal government has to date taken $32,000 out of my pay for federal income tax for this year! So I have the right to b!tch because I'm paying! I don't make a nickel one way or other off the space program but I'm sure paying for it! Before people complain how much is the NASA budget compared to other federal agencies, how much are you paying? $32K?

I want EVERY SINGLE FKN PENNY wasington can afford spent on space, I just want NOT ONE PENNY MORE THAN NECESSARY spent to keep the shuttle going!

You want jobs in Brevard Cty (ps, I live in California): Fine, put tax incentives to help create a 21st century space vehicle that is COST EFFICIENT! And quit yer b!tchin about a program that was supposed to end a decade ago! PLEASE STOP! It's getting pathetic! NASA needs to get these last two missions into space and then let's just use the unmanned vehicles to carry up fuel, food, oxygen and supplies.

WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE MANNED MISSIONS TO THE ISS!

Thanks, signed, paying thousands and thousands in taxes, microwave tom

Anonymous said...

im sorry to question your comments buddy but you are directly contradicting yourself, you say "just use the unmanned vehicles to carry up fuel, food, oxygen and supplies." BUT then you say "WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE MANNED MISSIONS TO THE ISS!" sorry but that doesnt make any sense if you say we dont need manned missions to the iss then why would we need to send food and oxygen? and i dont buy that you pay that in taxes because if you make that much money to pay that much in taxes, then you would have much better grammer skills

Anonymous said...

for all the naysayers: I'd jump at the chance to take the next shuttle up. I've worked for NASA for 35 years and just retired. I watched as the current shuttle teams listen to engineering and maintenance to decide when to launch. All the workers are good people who are only thinking of the safety of the astronauts climbing into that machine.