Discovery back in the VAB

by Chris Bergin

Shuttle Discovery has arrived back in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on Thursday – despite a breakdown of the Crawler Trasporter about a mile away from reaching the VAB.

She began her roll-back from Launch Pad 39B at 6am EST and eventually reached the VAB at around 4pm EST.

Discovery is being rolled back for a de-stacking, ahead of being raised and re-stacked on ET-121 and its Solid Rocket Boosters – a stack that was to be used by Atlantis on STS-121 – ahead of a launch that is currently targeted for a window of July 13 to 31.
Wednesday saw a successful test of the Orbiter’s three Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) that power the hydraulic systems that will help steer Discovery. Kennedy Space Center workers noted the test went to plan with no problems reported.
Discovery was set to start her roll-back at 2am Florida local time – supported on the back of a giant Crawler Transporter and Mobile Launch Platform (MLP) on a journey that took longer than expected when a bearing on the Transporter overheated.
A delay in the required paperwork meant Discovery had to wait another four hours to begin the trip – which eventually started just after dawn break on Thursday. A break down shortly after lunchtime – around a mile away from reaching the VAB – added a few hours to the journey time, before arriving back in the VAB before the weather closed in..

Live images:

Related Articles