Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shuttle Manager Hale's Teleconference Statements

These are the notes I have taken during the December, 11th teleconference. I am posting them as I have taken them. They are largely unedited, but IMHO speak for themselves. Direct quotes are within quotation marks, the rest are my observations". I penned this down during the teleconference, so I am pretty sure it is the exact wording.

"We set up 2 investigation teams. One is a near term team working on the current vehicle, second is a longer term team with experts from all around the agency."

"do instrumented tanking test next Tuesday. Some instrumentation that we can put on some appropriate places at the circuits ... We can capture the location in circuit in TDR, a commercially available technology ... we have a high degree of confidence in pinpointing the location and once we know the location we can put together a fix."

"STS-122 launch could definitely be a bit later than January, 2nd"

"I've been committed to fixing it. An intermittent electrical problem is really hard to fix. We thought we had fixed it, but we didn't. So I might say we are RE-committed to fixing it"

Reporter: How concerned are you about the whole eco sensor system (touching on the email where Mr. Hale considered retiring this system as unreliable).

"This low level cutoff capability is a safety system that has never been used in flight... like a seat belt. If you don't have anything bad, you probably don't need it. If you needed it and it didn’t work it could be really bad. We would like to have this system functional and we would like to restore functionality of this system"

"There are other test, bench test of the equipment at manufactures in parallel to tanking test. Tanking test is a hazardous operation."

Reporter: if STS-122 does not launch on January, 2nd, when then? "I let you know when we have our tanking test done and we have some data"

"The problem only occurs when we have cryo conditions present" It all works well at normal temperaturs. We are gonna to find out where the problem is."

If the LCC criteria (number of working ECO sensors) would be changed: "Our point is to try to fix the problem and then go back to the previously LCC, rather than speculate let us wait and try to fix this problem."

"TDR is not flight equipment, its not qualified. Its a ground system only."

Once again on the email about retiring the eco sensors: "Our thinking has evolved from Friday when I wrote that little note."

"We hope it repeats one more time on our test next week when we have the instrumentation".

"Until we come to the bottom of this mystery, we are in no better shape launching any other orbiter" when asked about swapping assembly flights or orbiters to get off the ground.

"a single circuit is around a hundered feet of wire from the PSB to the sensing element."

Test details:
"We have to physically cut the wires, we are talking about the ECO and the 5% sensor, which is in the same pass-trough and connector. We have to have people present to run that equipment. We send the red crew out during the stable replenishment phase. And if the problem is as in the past, it will stay with us during the stable replenish phase. We can not have people during tanking for safety concerns"

On a Christmas break: "We are thinking about taking a few days off to allow our folks to have a few days with their families. We'll make that decision shortly after the tanking test."

"The splicing of wires in the aft compartment is a standard procedure. We have identified a place where we can access the circuits that are readily accessible."

"And then restore the circuits together when we are done with the tanking test."

"Take the sensor's wire harness and the LH2 pass trough connector and put them in a facility with cryo fluids and monitor how these tings respond in a lab setting. either liquid helium, warmer, or liquid hydrogen (lh2). we look at all these piece parts work. we did piece part testing before, we are doing integrated circuit from the lh2 pass through to the sensors themselves."

"The liquid helium low level cutoff ability (LLCO) was present from the beginning , I am pretty sure it was sts-1 (99% positive). It is not a new system that has changed dramatically in design or manufacturing. The FPR is not significantly different the past 10/15 years than it is today. Just enough reserves to protect it from normal engine and operating procedures. The voltage indication system has been on sts 118 and 120 only, which were flawless."

"The primary goal is to trouble shoot the system as it is and restore its functionality. We would only consider other measures if we fail with this."

Next tuesday full tanking test? "We need to fill the tank fully because as I said, it is our safety requirement to have people on the pad we need to be in stable replenish. It is reviewed which aux systems need to be operating. The launch team is finalizing the procedures."

"I can not put my finger at anything that is especially difficult, its just normal operations in an unusual environment."

ISS Stage EVA next week, Thursday afternoon, 2ET, possibly next Tuesday, SARJ

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