While complex repair plans are being drawn up for ET-124, Atlantis herself continues to undergo repairs on her Thermal Protection System (TPS), which suffered some minor damage by the hail storm that caused the rollback of STS-117.
Work will also be carried out on 10 feet of Atlantis’ wiring, which related to the ECO (Engine Cut Off) sensors, while troubleshoot on the SRB hydraulic accumulator may require changeout.
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Daily presentations are being drawn up on the procedures that will map out of the repairs on ET-124, which has started a level of repair work, following the installation of all the main platforms and scaffolding, designed to support the repair effort.
‘All significant pieces of scaffolding for the ET have been built. More scaffolding will be built as areas are identified. Feel all the inspections will be done in next two or three days and will be able to provide good maps of damage and data to the engineering community,’ noted the latest Shuttle Standup/Integration report, available on L2.
A major milestone will follow on Wednesday, when engineers carry out a TIM level evaluation of the tank, which will go some way to decide if they can viably bring ET-124 back to flight status, or if they’ll need to wait for the next tank (ET-117) to arrive from the Michoud Assembly Facility – due to arrive at KSC in April – to fly with Atlantis instead.
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Damage sustained by Atlantis herself during the hailstorm was minimal compared to her ET, and repairs have been proceeding without issue.
‘Micro-inspections on left wing of orbiter are complete, and macro-inspections on lower surface are complete,’ noted a March 13 update. ‘Twenty-seven of the 32 TPS repairs identified are complete. There was minor TPS damage from the hail; will repair this concurrently with the inspections and the work taking place on the tank.
‘Completed a Ground Ops risk assessment for RCC NDE work, and identified actions. Meeting to ensure actions are complete. When the actions are completed, the high crew will begin building access over that area.’
A ‘Thermography paper’ will be repaired for Atlantis’ tiles on Friday, with work set to continue on finalizing the repair effort next week.
While those evaluations continue, the focus on the orbiters continue unabated. While it’s not stated, some of the ‘poke outs’ seen with Atlantis do raise some interesting questions in regards to the original launch date for STS-117, which would have been this Thursday.
‘On Atlantis, (a problem was found) from backing out of a mod that resulted in stumbling onto an ECO sensor wiring issue. Wires for all four sensors runs through the same ten foot length in one harness,’ added a NASA report. ‘The wires probably need to be separated, and this condition is on all vehicles.’
Also noted was the SRB hydraulic accumulator issue – which is separate from the recent problem with the erratic chamber pressure in one OPT (Operational Pressure Transducer) – which led to the removal and replacement of all six (three on each booster) OPTs.
‘Troubleshooting was performed last Thursday on the SRB hydraulic accumulator and saw no change in quantity percentage. The SRB accumulator will need more testing and will likely need to be replaced,’ added acquired NASA information. ‘Atlantis will power up briefly to support additional SRB hydraulic accumulator troubleshooting and Orbiter/SRB data snapshots.’
Processing continues with Discovery and Endeavour, with both flows classed as green, without any significant issues.
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