Atlantis ready for STS-125 countdown – STS-132 crew assigned

by Chris Bergin

Engineers are pressing through the remaining minor issues – the latest being an obstructive Teflon tube in the Payload Bay – ahead of the start of STS-125’s three day countdown that opens on Friday. Meanwhile, a veteran six person crew has been assigned by NASA for the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

No constraints to launch have been reported to the Mission Management Team (MMT), which meets at the weekend for the next milestone of the L-2 (days) meeting.

The launch countdown will begin at 4pm Eastern on Friday, hopefully concluding with the safe launch of Atlantis at 2:01pm Eastern on Monday.

“Finished Joint FRR (Flight Readiness Review) for STS-125 last week and it went really well. Didn’t take any actions out of there; just a couple of open exceptions that will get closed before we hit L-2. Did finalize launch date of May 11. Everything was in good shape for that. Processing is plugging along,” noted the latest Shuttle Stand-up/Integration report on L2.

“The launch window opens up at 1:31 p.m. EDT (launching 30 minutes later) on Monday, so tanking will be around 4:00 a.m. ET. The schedule will be sent out, if it hasn’t been already, for the MMT times.”

Processing is continuing  to work through pressurization tasks and closeouts, with the next item of interest being Payload Bay Door (PLBD) closure.

“Orbiter: OV-104 / ET-130 / BI-137 / RSRM-105 (Pad-A): The team continues to work preparations toward Launch Countdown; Call to Stations (CTS) is Friday at 1530 EDT. Hyper/MPS (Main Propulsion System) pressurization/closeouts are in-work,” noted Wednesday processing information on L2.

“Initial OMS/RCS GHe/GN2 pressurization to flight mass was completed yesterday (Tuesday). MPS/SSME GHe tanks are at flight pressure. Final (stage 2) OMS/RCS GHe/GN2 pressurization to flight mass began yesterday on 2nd shift and completed at 0255 local this morning.

“The pad was reopened for normal work at 0338 local. QD (Quick Disconnect) leak checks and disconnects and flight cap installations are in work.”

a24Work through the weekend and early into this week to repair the two cracks on Atlantis’ port radiator face sheet has been successful, following an accident involving a socket impacting the hardware during pad processing.

“Work associated with the payload bay door radiator repair is complete,” confirmed processing information. “Cleanup of some excess epoxy was completed, tape was installed over the doubler; and a 24 hour vacuum cure was completed “

Usual pad flow issues are expected ahead of launch, with the current “IPRs” (Interim Problem Reports) all cleared bar a potential requirement to shorten a Teflon tube that is interfering with Payload Bay Door closure.

“New IPR to OMS/RCS Engineering: Prior to pressurizing the LOMS (Left Orbital Manuevering System) GN2 tank a GSE valve (A89822) failed to open. Troubleshooting indicated an electronic fuse had failed,” added Wednesday processing information.

“Personnel briefly entered pad A between S0071 stage 1 and 2 press and replaced the card. Retest of The GSE (Ground Support Equipment) valve was successful and stage 2 pressurization proceeded normally.

“Holdfire voltage at lower limits update: The configuration in a communications panel inside MLP-2 (Mobile Launch Platform) was corrected and the range safety holdfire checks were successfully re-accomplished yesterday (Tuesday).

a33“Payloads picked up a PR (Problem Report) on a GN2 Teflon tubing potential interference with the PLBD during closure. The plan is to trim the Teflon tubing to take the slack out of it (reference photo). The constraint is to payload bay door closure.”

The tube in question is believed to be related to the Hubble servicing payload Atlantis is flying with, and used for gas transfer from one location to another. Engineers noted that a simple shortening of the tube will resolve the problem.

“It’s a busy week,” added MMT chair Leroy Cain. “We’re doing some work on the budget. We’ll be traveling to Washington D.C. for a couple of days. We’re getting ready to launch in a week.

“Let’s keep our focus, and have a good week.”

STS-132 Crew Assignment:

STS-132 will mark the 32nd and final “scheduled” flight of space shuttle Atlantis. Targeting launch No Earlier Than (NET) May 13, 2010, STS-132 is an 11+1+2 day mission, with three scheduled EVAs (spacewalks) and the option to add an extra EVA should the need arise.

Recently baselined by the Program Requirements Control Board (PRCB), the ULF-4 flight will see the Russian Mini Research Module-1 (MRM-1) added to the International Space Station.

The crew that will fly with Atlantis have been assigned, with Ken Ham selected as the mission’s commander, along with Tony Antonelli, who will be piloting Atlantis.

Karen Nyberg, Piers Sellers, Stephen Bowen, and Garrett Reisman will make up the rest of the crew as Mission Specialists.

L2 members: Documentation – from which most of the above article has quoted snippets – is available in full in the related L2 sections, now over 4000 gbs in size.

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