Endeavour on track as STS-123 FRR concludes – Atlantis hose update

by Chris Bergin

STS-123 has passed through its Flight Readiness Review (FRR), with only a few issues to be resolved ahead of the S0007 Launch Countdown.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Atlantis’ starboard aft radiator retract flex hose did kink during payload bay closing at the end of STS-122, and now requires R&R and re-testing during her STS-125 processing flow.

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**STS-123 Special: MOD Flight Readiness Review (FRR) Presentations, Baselines and Mission Overviews. 

Over 30 Checklists and Handbooks, plus STS-123 Flight Plan and Detailed Mission Timeline Overviews. 

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 **LIVE news updates on Endeavour STS-123 PAD FLOW**

**LIVE updates on Atlantis STS-125 Processing Flow and STS-122 Post Flight**

**LIVE updates on Discovery STS-124 Processing**

STS-123 FRR Flashes:

Launch date of March 11 approved pending final decision on suspect PR on SRB factory joint debond issue.

Atlantis Hose Issue:

The confirmation that the hose had kinked on orbit comes as a surprise, following the call from the crew – after the doors had closed ahead of re-entry – that all four hoses appeared to have retracted without any problems.

‘RH aft flex hose, which had problems before mission was checked before PLBDs (Payload Bay Doors), were opened Saturday, and this was found to be buckled,’ noted the latest Shuttle Stand-up/Integration report. ‘Radiator inspections are in work.’

Thankfully, the hose, which carries freon coolant to the orbiter’s radiators, is not reported to have leaked – which is the risk with a bent or kinked hose. Had there of been a leak, controllers on the ground would have immediately noticed the problem via data on their screens. That would have initiated a mitigation plan of isolating the loop to stop any leakage.

Two orbiters are suffering from the problem that is specific to one of the four hoses. Discovery is set to receive a new radiator retract assembly on Friday, with a second assembly to be delivered in the middle of next month for Atlantis.

‘On the radiator retract assembly for OV-103 (Discovery) at Huntington Beach in work, they are targeting March 1 delivery to support the schedule,’ added the Stand-up. ‘Currently, the target delivery date for the second radiator retract assembly for OV-104 (Atlantis) is March 18.’

STS-122: Hose related news content (all exclusives): *Issue found/fleet to be checked (December)* – *Atlantis found to have problem* – *Managers discuss forward plan* – *Use of pole to aid retract* – *Successful Retraction*

STS-123 Pre-FRR Latest:

However, there’s good news for Endeavour at the pad, following the closure of her Payload Bay Doors, with engineers reporting all four hoses retracted into their boxes without any issues.

‘Payload bay doors (PLBDs) were closed for flight and radiator retract hose went into the box nominally,’ confirmed processing information.

Endeavour and the STS-123 stack are behaving well on Pad 39A, as the pad flow continues to move ever closer to S0007 (Launch Countdown) operations. Endeavour’s tank (ET-126) is also in the final phase of cure time for the reapplied foam surrounding its replaced LH2 Feed-through connector.

‘On vehicle at pad, ET feedthrough connector work is complete. Lockheed Martin folks went back to MAF (Michoud Assembly Facility),’ added the Stand-up. ‘Hyperloading is planned for completion by Friday afternoon.

‘RH (Right Hand) inboard elevon hydraulic actuator making noise was cleared as is; this sound signature has been seen before. Gap fillers on interface between OMS pod and tile and blanket do not need to be trimmed. RH stinger door was removed, and two tiles found to have cracks are being replaced. Things are going well at pad.’

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Following a couple of minor incidents with Atlantis on STS-122, managers have applied lessons learned to Endeavour prior to her launch, including the checking of the OMS Pod blanket’s bonding to the surrounding tiles. A few recent flights have seen a small area of blanket protruding after the ride uphill.

‘Were able to clear some things for OV-105 (Endeavour) as discussed in Integrated Flow Status. This includes OMS pod blanket to tile bonding configuration for this flight. Still working on tile and blanket rationale because of OV-104 (Atlantis) problems,’ added the Stand-up.

‘Working on two OMS pod stinger tiles offline (in fabrication now); working on final blanket inspection and rationale for this.’

The FRR will be chaired by newly promoted shuttle manager John Shannon, who took over from Wayne Hale last week. The format of the FRR has also reverted back to a two day ‘face-to-face’ meeting, though this change was being called for prior to the management change.

‘FRR at KSC (Kennedy Space Center) will be old-fashioned face-to-face with no telecon,’ noted the Stand-up. ‘Not doing SSP (Space Shuttle Program) FRR, will be one meeting Thursday (and Friday if needed) starting at 8:00 am EST.’

Prior to the FRR proper, all relevant shuttle groups conducted their own pre-FRR meetings, which aids the process of preparing the documentation that will be taken to the shuttle management for review.

‘Had successful STS-123 Launch Readiness Review last Thursday. Had only one issue to bring to FRR, on HEPA filter failure,’ noted Vehicle Processing as one example of a pre-FRR brief. ‘Had a few schedule threats, but those were cleared at LeRoy (Cain’s) board on Friday. Looking good for launch date.’

Bar the HEPA filter issue, which has received a waiver, only a handful of additional items are expected to be discussed at the FRR. Those include:

‘On the ET flash system, the connector that needed to be R&R’d was done over the weekend and is installed on vehicle. Will do checkouts on it. Doing paperwork, and should be in good shape for flight.

‘On GAS beam bolts, one path involves no issues, with all engineering done, and would be ready to fly. The other path is accepted risk. On first path, dye penetrant inspection was done on the bolts in late 1970s when these bolts were produced, which established initial flaw size criteria. Team analyzed for fatigue what the mission life capability is for the bolts.

‘The issue is whether there is sufficient documentation to trace the number of flights each bolt has been on by serial number. If can show they were on fewer flights than the fatigue analysis shows, then the issue will be resolved. The reason for the NDE work on about 50 bolts is to reset the clock on the bolts and to provide a statistical sample if complete documentation cannot be obtained.’

Other items that will be brought to the table include the thermal clock on the OBSS (Orbiter Boom Sensor System) – which will be left on the International Space Station (ISS) at the end of the mission’s docked stage. This is due to clearance issues with STS-124’s payload.

The plan involves a change to Late Inspections for Endeavour, and Flight Day 2 inspections for Discovery on STS-124. A full article will be published in a few days on the outline of this plan.

L2 members: All documentation – from which the above article has quoted snippets – is available in full in the related L2 sections, updated live.

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