Shuttle Discovery Moving To Launchpad Tuesday
Ongoing closeout and integration tests will be performed, with the goal of moving the shuttle to the launchpad.
Discovery was mated to a new external tank on this past Tuesday. The tank was intended for use with the shuttle Atlantis, scheduled for the mission after Discovery’s. But NASA engineers decided to make the switch and implement a couple of other changes for safety purposes.
NASA has added a heater to the liquid oxygen feedline bellows. The bellows joint could have ice form on it as super-cold liquid oxygen flows through it during the fueling process. A fear that ice forming could break off and impact the shuttle led to the installation of the heater.
During previous tests, a hydrogen diffuser valve proved to be defective. The diffuser proved to have a tighter wire weave mesh than was expected, and has been blamed for the 13 cyclings of a vent valve expected to cycle 8 or 9 times. Engineers have replaced the diffuser.
Unless the remaining inspections disclose an issue, Discovery will begin making the four mile trip from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad at 3 am on June 14th.
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.