Tanking Test set for Friday

by Chris Bergin

One NASA source is claiming that Shuttle Discovery’s Return to Flight will be moved to the September window. Discovery was set to launch in the second half of July – which remains the case at this time.

A second Tanking Test is set to go ahead on Friday. A delay being considered ahead of the Tanking Test would be a very strange decision to make – thus this is classed only as a ‘rumour’ at this time.
United Space Alliance workers at Kennedy Space Center will conduct a new tanking test at Launch Pad 39 tomorrow – with their continued aim to troubleshoot issues with the External Tank and sensors – issues that arose  two issues that arose during the April 14 test.

Engineers will evaluate the liquid hydrogen ECO sensors in the tank that gave intermittent readings during last month’s test. These sensors serve as fuel gauges to notify the Space Shuttle Main Engines to shut down when propellants reach a certain level in the tank.

In addition, they will also evaluate a liquid hydrogen pressurization relief valve that cycled nearly twice as many times during the first tanking test than is normal. This valve opens and closes to ensure the liquid hydrogen stays at the correct temperature.

When the tanking test is completed, preparations for rolling Space Shuttle Discovery back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) will begin.

This will occur next week where Discovery will be seperated and raised away from her current Solid Rocket Boosters and External tank, hoisted over to another bay in the VAB where STS-121’s stack was awaiting Shuttle Atlantis. Discovery will then be mated to complete a new STS-114 stack. The process should take around five days.

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