Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NASA planning repairs to cracks in Discovery's external tank

Two cracks in Discovery's external tank can be repaired at launch pad 39A, NASA officials say.

"This is something we've seen before, something we've repaired before," said Kyle Herring, a shuttle program spokesman at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The cracks, each about nine inches long, were found near the top of one of the composite aluminum strips called "stringers" that run up and down the tank's ridged intertank.

They wre found during inspections of cracked insulating foam that was spotted after Discovery's launch attempt scrubbed Friday because of a hydrogen gas leak.

Similar problems have been repaired during tank manufacturing by replacing the cracked stringer with a reinforced one called a "doubler."

The repair has not been performed at the pad before, but plans are being made to do so. Officials say there is still no discussion of rolling Discovery back to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

NASA is not ruling out the possibility of launching Discovery's final flight as soon as Nov. 30, the opening of a weeklong window, but the repair schedule could make that a challenge.

Officials say the pace of the repairs will dictate the launch date, not the other way around.

IMAGE: Technicians disected this area of Discovery's external tank where a crack in the foam developed. Credit: NASA.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Things happen for a reason. Suppose the hydrogen leak didn't happen. They never would have seen this.

Anonymous said...

Incorrect, they would have spotted the crack before launch. Many inspections are in place before and after tanking.

I hope no other unseen stringers (under the foam) have similiar problems. I'm sure they'll be investigating this carefully in detail.

HBJ said...

At first I thought it was just a foam crack from tanking, but from the article and comments about seems the metal stinger is cracked, which caused the foam to crack. A doubler will fix the problem. Wonder how they know all the other stringers are good? Seems a potential mechanism for cracking the ET foam during flight and creating a debris source. Probably some rationale engineering has to preclude this, but not obvious to me.

jaxdodger said...

What a bunch of misfits we have working for NASA! How long have they had to prepare for this launch? How long will the union keep these incompetents on OVERTIME. Get this thing in the air and close down this government cash cow for the unions. Enough is enough, close this program down and get rid of these bozos!

Anonymous said...

JAXDODGER..U R AN IDIOT.. STUPID LAME COMMENT..

Anonymous said...

The headline on the front page is incorrect. The cracks are not in the fuel tank (which holds the liquid hydrogen), but are actually in the intertank, which is below the oxidizer tank.

Anonymous said...

This can't be good

Anonymous said...

jaxdodger why dont you get your facts straight before posting a comment. you only make yourself look like an idiot when you dont know what your talking about. the fabrication of the ET is contracted out to lockheed martin not NASA, so to say that nasa workers are incompetents is ignorant. and im "sure" lockheed "purposely" wanted nasa workers to milk the clock. more than likely lockheed will be the ones paying for the repairs YOU IDIOT

Anonymous said...

Jaxdodger - why just tell all of us you're an idiot when you can shout it (as you did with your post). I'd love to see how you enjoy your life without the benefits and improvements that came BECAUSE of our manned Space Program. If you'd pull your head out of you-know-where, you might see past your ignorant rhetoric and realize that a robust space program improves the economy (both local and US-wide) and improves nearly every facet of our modern lives (computers, medical, energy, manufacturing, just to name a few). Thankfully, you DON'T work for NASA or any of its contractors...

Anonymous said...

Robust?

Anonymous said...

Discovery is the cocaine bird from OPF #3. Is it just coincidence that it has had three disconcertions?

Anonymous said...

8:43 (miraclecity). The above discussion is about the external tank genius.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Antagonist is back as Jaxdodger. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

Robust? Redundant seems like a better word to describe our space program in the past decade. Jaxdodger doesn't seem to be the only one making so-called ignorant comments. Don't be too surprised that many laid off disgruntled shuttle workers have also made stupid comments on several space news posted here. etc. Many ex-shuttle workers have forgotten to be grateful for the many well-paid years they were allowed to have working on the space shuttles as well as all the extended benefits they are getting as the space program slowly comes to an end. Ephesians 4:29 - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Anonymous said...

You might have something there Anonymous 9:30PM "jaxdodger" might very well be one of those laid off United Space Alliance workers that left October 1 or this past week. It can also be any of the workers who know their jobs will end either January 2011 or shortly thereafter the last shuttle flight. Who knows for sure? Antagonist might also be a NASA employee too or ex-employee.

Anonymous said...

I think what jaxdodger commented in an earlier post was absolutely true as many others commenting also agreed..."KSC workers are now in the real world of supply and demand." The Govt. sponsored, outdated, inefficient, NASA programs are over. If NASA had turned its management over to competent private entrepreneurs instead of their good ol' boy buddys the transition would be smoother and less painful. Sorry but that's the way it is in the real world. Ex astronauts are America's heroes and we are proud of them but their only role in the Space program should have been advisory and training only. They do not have the business skills or management acumen for most of the positions they fill. The waste in the system has caused it to be discontinued."

With that said, let's not forget that several ex-astronauts including NASA administrators all agreed to end the govt sponsored space program handing its future over to the private companies.

Anonymous said...

This bitch hates America! Take a look.
http://www.youtube.com/user/Su­­pportAlQaeda?feature=mhum

I know where she lives in case anyone wants to throw a rock in her window... or a molotov cocktail.
15809 Brighton Ave #1 AND #2
Gardena, CA 90247

Anonymous said...

If I were to go up in space, I wouldn't want to go up in that mission. Things are pretty dangerous for those astronauts. NASA has spent so much money on this project. I'd hate to see it go away. But, on the other hand the astonauts are dead meat.