NASA managers have concluded the first of two days of the Flight Readiness Review (FRR), with nearly all outstanding troubleshooting completed. Endeavour is expected to be given the green light for an August 7 launch attempt.
A late issue with Endeavour’s LH2 recirculation pump inside the Main Propulsion System (MPS) – which might of required replacing – has been cleared for flight, as STS-118 proceeds on track with the pad processing flow.
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Endeavour is being prepared for launch at Pad 39A, with hypergolic fuel loading making up most of the first part of this week. A couple of leaks with the Ground Support Equipment (GSE) have also been going through troubleshooting.
‘Wednesday and Thursday of this week is the Level 1 FRR at KSC (Kennedy Space Center),’ noted Flight Director level NASA information.
‘In addition to reviewing the STS-117 in-flight anomalies, the topics that are expected to be discussed are the investigation of the STS-115 fuel cell coolant pump motor phase A failure, APU2 isol valve power A failure, and ET-120 loading sensors.
‘This is also the first flight of the active vibration redline for the Advanced Health Monitoring System (AHMS), the MPS ECO voltage monitoring system, Station to Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS) and 3-string GPS.’
‘With a successful ISS reboost on 7/23, STS-118 will have consecutive FD3 launch opportunities from August 7-22.’
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Endeavour’s MPS LH2 recirculation pump became one of the main topics in the pre-FRR, due to potential contamination, which led to an inspection being carried out. If contamination was found, the pump may have required replacement.
‘It was decided late last week to inspect OV-105’s MPS LH2 recirc pump impeller nuts for silver sulfide contamination,’ added the information.
”This is being done to eliminate the uncertainty surrounding 105’s engines and whether the contamination found on a spare recirc pump is unique or generic in nature. If silver sulfide crystals are found on one or more nuts, the question of whether or not to R&R the OV-105 recirc pump package will be reviewed.’
However, just ahead of the FRR, and confirmed within the meeting, the pump was cleared for flight.
‘Payload bay doors closed and will open again after hyper loading this week. LH2 recirculation pump inspection completed, with no issues on nuts; will do foam closeout on area after S0024 later this week,’ added processing information, which also noted a couple of additional lightning strikes at the pad.
‘Had lightning strikes Friday night at pad. One strike hit mast and another was within 0.3 nm. This is under review process and will go to (Engineering Board) this week.’
The issue – which gained a large amount of media attention last week – with the booster O-ring seals, was – as expected, passed via evaluations.
‘Completed validation testing of large O-ring on weekend with data as expected,’ noted integration report information pre-FRR. ‘Looks good for next couple of launches.’
A vast amount of data is being evaluated ahead of the official confirmation of the launch date, with Thursday’s meeting rounding up any outstanding issues, including LON (Launch On Need).
Currently, the LON vehicle – Discovery – is in a smooth processing flow, with only the sensor issue on the External Tank (ET-120) being the ‘fluid’ situation.
Anything left outstanding from the meeting will move to the L-2 Day MMT (Mission Management Team) meeting for discussion.
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