Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Altantis tanking test under way

Kennedy Space Center teams around 12:30 p.m. began fueling Atlantis for today's test at launch pad 39A, a little over five hours later than planned because of severe weather.

Storms aren't believed to have damaged Atlantis or the pad. NASA said a power substation was knocked out early this morning, adding to today's delay.

About 390,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and 145,000 gallons of liquid oxygen, at minus 423 degrees and minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit respectively, will be pumped into the 153.8-foot tall, 27.6-foot diameter tank.

Fueling will take about three hours, after which NASA's final inspection team will visit the pad to inspect the tank. The tank will be drained later tonight.

In the coming days, teams will perform X-ray scans of the tank's mid-section, or intertank, to make sure no cracks have formed on support beams.

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