Tanking process starts following heater failure

by Chris Bergin

NASA TV has reported this morning that the loading of propellants into the External Tank (ET) has been delayed due to a heater problem relating to the ET. However, at 7:11am EDT the issue was resolved.

The heater is part of the ground support equipment used during launch, and heats the ET Intertank purge. Whilst the main heater has failed, a backup was used.

The Shuttle could still have launched, but NASA managers noted they would prefer a redundant heater ready to go when tanking begins.

United Space Alliance’s “Red Team” was sent to the launch pad to change out a firing package in the failed heater. That process was a success and chilldown of the LOX and LH2 lines begun at 7:11am EDT.

Tanking needed to start before 9am EDT to avoid any impact on the 3:51pm EDT launch time.

(Story updated from previous heater failure article).

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