Shuttle manager Wayne Hale has spoken of his pride with the vast engineering team that have turned around STS-122 from troubleshooting to a return to launch preparations.
Another key step towards returning Atlantis into a launch posture was conducted via the Delta Flight Readiness Review (FRR) on Friday, which refined key mission elements and updated new issues found over the last two months.
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**STS-122 Special: 29 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) Presentations, Baselines and Mission Overviews. **Click here for FRR overview articles: Article 1 – Article 2** Payload Presentations and vast amounts of live, uploaded images and presentations, movies (several) – already 2600 megabytes strong**
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STS-122 ECO related news content: *Scrub 1* – *MMT Debate* – *Scrub 2* – *Hale Memo* – *Forward Plan* – *Culprit Found* – *Tanking Test* – *Repair Options* – *MAF Plan* – *PRCB Debate* – *Plan Approved* – *Repair Schedule* – *Launch Date* – *New Issue* – *Hale Rallying Call* – *PRCB Launch Dates* – *New Connector Installed* – *Positive Test Results* – *Manifest Impacts* – *Optimism with forward plan* – *Flight Rationale* – *Repairs Finalizing* – *Root Cause Confirmed*
STS-122 Troubleshooting Latest:
Work has finished on the replacement of ET-125’s External Feed-through connector, with the work site now undergoing a final cure time period – while the pad is brought back into a launch posture ahead of S0007 Launch Countdown operations.
Final curing to the reapplied foam on the SRB (Solid Rocket Booster) PAL (Protuberance Air Loads) ramp is coming to the end of a seven day cure, and is expected to be complete by Monday night.
S0007 Launch Countdown Orbiter preps have begun, Call-To-Stations (CTS) is planned for Monday, 2/4/08. S5009 Ordnance installation CTS is planned for Monday 1/28/08 with connects on Tuesday. PLBD’s (Payload Bay Doors) will open Tuesday to support freon line inspection, GN2 purge line routing and RMS (Remote Manipulator System) sideview camera replacement.
One final Delta FRR will be conducted this coming week, although the bulk of documentation was presented to Friday’s overview, which showed the huge amount of work that has been going on behind the scenes, as STS-122 nears launch.
‘Mr. Hale is excited about setting the launch date. Everyone is looking forward to getting back into flight operations,’ noted the latest Stand-up/Integration report.
‘Mr. Hale congratulated the team for their hard work and for doing all the things necessary to get the vehicle ready on the pad. Are just waiting for the cure time now. He is very proud to be part of this team.’
STS-122 Delta FRR Overview 1 (Windows and EVA changes):
Friday’s FRR refined the mission elements required from a two month delay, due to the ECO/LH2 Feed-through work, such as ET Photography/Launch Windows, Orbiter and stack hardware overviews and additional notes of interest since the December scrubs.
One master document, 275 pages in length – combining 17 departmental overviews – provided the best overview of the refined information. The following covers two of the overviews.
The presentation (and several others from the FRR) are available to download on L2.
Updated Launch Window/ET Photography Notes:
Atlantis, STS-122/IE is set to launch on February 7, on a 12 day mission (11+1+2) mission duration, carrying the Columbus module for the European Space Agency (ESA), including three EVAs and an ISS Expedition crew rotation.
It will be Atlantis’ final mission prior to repairing Hubble on STS-125, before she received the SSPTS modification for two additional flights, added after her operational lifetime was extended to 2010.
‘Daylight launch occurs between Feb 7th and Feb 26th. Launch Window shown at 10 minutes but may be less on launch day due to limited APM (reserves, which are added to mitigate shutdown issues with problematic ECO sensors during ascent),’ noted the FRR overview
‘Optimal ET Umbilical lighting occurs between Feb 7th and Feb 14th. Optimal ET Handheld lighting occurs between Feb 21st and March 4th. FD3/FD4 are days where both a FD3 and FD4 pane may be utilized to extend the launch window. Data reflects a 3.1 m/s reboost that occurred on Jan 11th. Flight Day 4 Rendezvous launch opportunity.
‘February 8th may become a FD3 opportunity but will be a function of how the ISS state vector changes over coming days.’
February 7 remains the current target for launch, though this is being monitored over the coming days – ahead of the final FRR – following notes from the latest Stand-up.
‘Questioned whether the STS-122 launch date has moved to February 6. (Deputy Shuttle manager John) Shannon indicated that the date is still set for February 7. He explained that there has been email traffic on this, but changing the date would currently make it a FD 4 rendezvous.
‘Ops team is looking into this. KSC had stated it would need to be determined if this would be tried, but we will probably know something certain later.’
The New Operations/Priority Changes page also added refined a number of mission day elements, adding that a Flight Day (FD) 4 rendezvous would be acceptable, if required.
‘Open ISS driven Launch Commit Criteria (LCC) will be met prior to 2/7 launch: MT Relocate to WS7 and SSRMS base change to Node 2 PDGF scheduled 2/1/08. FD4 rendezvous is acceptable,’ added the document.
‘2/8/08 launch date is currently a FD4 opportunity due to small phase angle. Two pane launch window will be utilized where applicable. FD4 rendezvous uses +1 day prior to docking. Orbiter powerdown to standard Group B level. Support 11+1+2 mission duration with 3 EVAs
Mated Reboost request from ISS Program/IP Russia: Scheduled on Flight Day 9 (FD9), will be executed if propellant available for 16S Soyuz. Mated Orbiter or Orbiter only Passive Thermal Conditioning (PTC) required for launch between 2/8 and 2/14
‘Beta angle between 60 and 65 degrees from 2/21 to 2/25/08. Protected in orbiter propellant budget. Reboost, Fly-around lower in priority than PTC, mated maneuver for thermal.’
EVA (Spacewalk) Manifest Changes:
Three changes are made to the manifest since the delay to STS-122’s original launch date in October, with the additional of two ‘longer life’ EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) batteries, the addition of new Overgloves – as previously noted as a silver lining to the delayed launch, and the addition of the grease guns and equipment for later use on the problematic starboard SARJ (Solar Alpha Rotary Joint).
‘EVA Late Manifest Updates approved since the STS-122/Flight 1E FRR: Addition of two EMU Increased Capacity Battery (ICB) to support EVA Shuttle Contingency Requirements,’ noted the presentation by the EVA Office.
‘Addition of the Modified Adjustable Protective Mitten Assemblies (APMAs), or Overgloves. Addition of SARJ grease guns, cartridges and nozzles.’
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The addition of two EMU batteries will provide Shuttle return EVA capability with two batteries within life and without waivers.
‘Background and rationale for addition of two EMU ICBs: Current ISS inventory of four batteries have exceeded their 300 day limited life on January 24, 2008 and February 3, 2008.
‘Batteries have a limited life of 300 days, 12 cycle limitation and 26.6 amp/hrs. Shuttle program requirements dictate EVA consumables to support two Shuttle return EVA contingencies. Two EMU batteries are required for Shuttle contingency EVAâ€™s. A third battery is provided as backup but not required,’ added the presentation.
‘Due to the extended launch delay, the three EMU batteries currently stowed/installed on the Shuttle required a maintenance cycle prior to January 27, 2008.
‘The three EMU batteries were removed from the orbiter (two from the EMUs and one mid-deck stowed), returned to JSC for maintenance and shipped back to KSC with the two additional EMU batteries for reinstallation in the EMUs and mid-deck stowed on January 19, 2008.
‘All work successfully completed and airlock closeout planned for January 24, 2008.’
The use of the Overglove – a protective sheath will protect the areas of the gloves that are most prone to wear and tear – was brought in following recent incidents during spacewalks, most notably the terminated EVA-3 during STS-118, when Rick Mastracchio suffered a cut glove incident.
A modified version of the glove was set to debut with STS-123. However, due to the delay to the launch of Atlantis, some of the modified gloves can now head to the International Space Station on STS-122.
‘There are six pair of the original design APMA, or Overglove, on-orbit. With the February 7, 2008, launch date and the acceleration of the Overglove manufacturing schedule, three pair of the modified Overgloves were able to be completed in time for STS-122 L-4. Two L will support the STS-122 EVAs and one M to support INC 16 crewmember.
‘The modified Overgloves incorporated updates from the prototype version. The remaining three pair of modified Overgloves will be manifested on STS-123.’
Even more recent in NASA’s plans are the SARJ Grease Guns, which included the first images of what appears to be items more common to the catering industry. However, these guns will have a much more important purpose than decorating cakes.
The troublesome starboard SARJ on the ISS – which is out of service, following findings that 1505 Nitride material is spalling away from its race ring, will require several steps of mitigation, including the replacement of several elements of internal hardware. The forward plan already includes the removal of Trundle Bearing Assembly 5 for return to Earth.
However, the plan involving the grease guns is to clear away the debris from the internal workings of the SARJ, before ‘greasing’ up the moving parts, and then trying to run the joint, possibly as a temporary measure, ahead of a number of R&R EVAs.
While STS-122 won’t conduct any work on the SARJ, managers decided to implement some ‘get aheads’ by sending up the grease guns as part of Atlantis’ manifest.
‘Per January 8, 2008, SSPCB request to determine if the EVA Grease Gun schedule could be accelerated from STS-123 to STS-122, EVA is working toward a January 31, 2008, delivery of the hardware with a materials only certification,’ added the FRR overview.
‘Full certification will follow after delivery and launch of the hardware with planned completion by Flight 1JA or a Stage 1E EVA, whichever comes first.’
‘The SARJ Grease Gun is based off the design of the RCC Manual Crack Repair Gun. Two grease guns, five cartridges, and two nozzles are manifested on STS-122.
‘The new design will provide EVA capability to apply Braycote 602 EF vacuum grease to two of the three SARJ surfaces. Modified valve will allow extrusion of 1/8â€ diameter bead of Braycote on surface of the SARJ.’
STS-122 will kick off a six mission 2008, with the remaining launch dates still being refined. Interestingly, the latest refinement shows another change to the STS-125 launch date, this time back up into the end of August (from the re-manifested September 7) – although several schedules show several different dates.
‘Processed a launch date CR for near term flights OSB. Have launch dates February 7 and March 11 for STS-122 and STS-123 respectively,’ added the Stand-up. ‘Put a long-term CR in system for other baselined flights. Launch dates are as follows: STS-124/no change, STS-125/August 28, STS-126/October 16, and STS-119/December 4.’
If the schedule holds, it will be the busiest year for the Shuttle since the loss of Columbia, and the last six flight year, as the program starts to slow down in 2009 and 2010, ahead of the fleet’s retirement.
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