Thursday, November 4, 2010
About above image: Space Shuttle Discovery stands on Launch Pad at
NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida Thursday morning. There was a “no go” for launch today due to the bad weather.
Photo Credit: NASA TV
Post UPDATED at...
Friday, November 05, 2010
NASA Postpones Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA postponed Space Shuttle Discovery's launch to the International Space Station due to a hydrogen gas leak detected while filling the external tank.
The leak, detected early Friday morning while the shuttle's external fuel tank was being loaded, was at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate, or GUCP, an attachment point between the external tank and a 7-inch pipe that carries gaseous hydrogen safely away from Discovery to the flare stack, where it is burned off.
NASA's mission managers will hold a meeting at 11 a.m. Friday to discuss the repair options and Discovery's launch opportunities. A news conference will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website no earlier than 1 p.m. with Mike Moses, Space Shuttle Program launch integration manager and Mike Leinbach, shuttle launch director.
Next window for Discovery's liftoff is November 30th through December 5th. The 11-day STS-133 mission will deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) to the station. The PMM, which was converted from the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, will provide additional storage for the station crew and experiments may be conducted inside it, such as fluid physics, materials science, biology and biotechnology.
The flight also will transport critical spare parts and the Express Logistics Carrier 4 (ELC4) to the station. ELC4 is an external platform that holds large equipment. Robonaut 2, or R2, will be the first human-like robot in space when it flies on Discovery inside the PMM to become a permanent resident of the station. The mission will feature two spacewalks to do maintenance work and install new components.
Commander Steve Lindsey leads the veteran crew, which includes Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Tim Kopra, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott..STS-133 is the final shuttle mission planned for 2010, Discovery’s 39th flight and the 35th shuttle mission to the station.
Shuttle Team to Look at GUCP, Foam Crack Issues.Technicians will retrieve the ground umbilical carrier plate at Launch Pad 39A and begin a close look at it over the weekend after a leak in the apparatus prompted a scrub of Friday's launch attempt for space shuttle Discovery. Mike Leinbach, shuttle launch director, said the liftoff was postponed until no earlier than November 30th so engineers could have time to consider the problem and inspect the GUCP more closely.
Mission managers also will look closely at a crack in the external tank foam that developed as supercold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen were being drained from the tank. The 15-story tall, orange external tank shrinks and expands as its temperature changes from the effects of the propellants. That change can cause the foam insulation on the outside of it to crack.
Mike Moses, chair of the Mission Management Team, said the crack did not develop until after the launch attempt was called off. However, he said the team will analyze the crack carefully.
Next Possible Launch Opportunity
Will be at the end of month on...
Tuesday, November 30th
at 4:05am EST