Engineers met in a series of meetings Monday to discuss
inspection and repair options for space shuttle Discovery's ground
umbilical carrier plate (GUCP) and a crack in the external fuel
tank foam insulation. Discovery's launch was postponed Friday until
at least Nov. 30 because of a hydrogen gas leak at the GUCP.
NASA File Photo
Technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida have been
measuring the alignment of the plate on the external tank and
performing leak checks. Crews began disconnecting the GUCP Tuesday
after disconnecting the hydrogen vent line that attaches to the
GUCP. Managers will assess repair options after the disconnected
GUCP is inspected.
Teams also have begun analysis and inspection of the
approximately 20-inch long crack in the external tank foam. Teams
are planning to use terahertz or backscatter scans to see beneath
the foam to look for any other potential issues. As early as
Wednesday, technicians could begin dissecting the cracked section
so foam experts can make a thorough evaluation in order to help
determine the cause of the crack. Teams still are working out plans
to reapply foam to the external tank after inspections are
complete. Shuttle managers continue evaluating the data to
determine the best repair methods and next launch opportunity for
Discovery's STS-133 mission to the International Space Station.
NASA File Photo
Shuttle managers continue evaluating the data to determine the
best repair methods and next launch opportunity for Discovery's
STS-133 mission to the International Space Station.