Endeavour/STS-118 rollout – moved to Tuesday night

by Chris Bergin

NASA managers have approved rollout of the STS-118 stack, despite a series of last minute troubleshooting with the SRBs (Solid Rocket Boosters) and slight damage to the External Tank (ET-117).

However, rollout was moved to Tuesday night (10pm local) due to poor weather forecast in the Kennedy Space Center area during the latter part of Endeavour’s seven hour journey to launch pad complex 39A.

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The damage to ET-117 is minor and unlikely to be an issue, although it is being classed as the first ‘mishap’ of tank processing in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) – after a platform was retracted ahead of rollout.

During that process, the platform caused minor scratches to the foam surrounding the Minus-Y and Plus-Y ET Bipod struts. Engineers are carrying out evaluations on the scratches.

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Inside the VAB, Shuttle Interface Verification Testing has been completed and Endeavour has been powered up. A long list of IPRs (In Process Reviews) were created over the weekend, mainly relating to electrical issues with the SRBs.

‘During Ignition Sep PIC Test, SRB Ignition Fire 1 and Fire 2 failed; could not continue testing Saturday night,’ noted Monday’s processing information on one of the IPRs. ‘Will try to work this after Stray Voltage tests (completed over Sunday).’

Other IPRs are deemed no constraint to rollout, while another will be worked at the pad, allowing Endeavour to continue on track with the first launch attempt on August 7.

Endeavour and the STS-118 stack were due to start first motion out of the VAB just after midnight Monday. However, storm activity in the area led to the one day delay.

‘Rollout has been cancelled. Stand down due to unfavorable weather, which is predicted to arrive before arrival at pad,’ noted United Space Alliance information.

‘Call to stations 6pm tonight. 1st motion 10pm. 4am to 5am arrival at pad Wednesday.’

Preparations for the launch are proceeding on the timeline, with more waves of tankers, filled with LH2, arriving at Pad 39A, ready to be tanked into ET-117 just prior to launch. The rollout delay will have no impact.

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