Saturday, December 15, 2007

STS-122: Atlantis being instrumented...

Space shuttle Atlantis stands on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Cheryl MansfieldTroubleshooting efforts at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) continues: Space shuttle Atlantis has been instrumented for a tanking test scheduled to begin Monday. In parallel to the work at KSC, engineers at other NASA centers gather data about how the elements of the ECO sensor system should respond during the tanking test. This provides a baseline against which the actual tanking test results can be compared. Unfortunately, it is not sure if the failure will re-occur during the tanking test. But according to the latest findings it is quite likely.

Please also let me quote the relevant part of NASA's shuttle home page:

Engineers and technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center continue preparations to evaluate the hydrogen fuel sensor system on space shuttle Atlantis' external fuel tank during a procedure next week. Working at Launch Pad 39A where Atlantis remains pointed to space, workers attached wiring to the cables that lead from the aft compartment of Atlantis to the external tank's engine cutoff sensor system. Engineers will use the special instruments next Tuesday to send electrical pulses into the wiring and look for indications that will show the location of the issue that caused the sensors to return false readings last week. The failed readings showed up during launch countdowns on Dec. 6 and Dec. 9. Launch controllers postponed the liftoff on both occasions to find out the problem and develop solutions. Evaluations of the instruments themselves are also under way to show technicians what a normal reading on the external tank looks like. Those readings will be compared to the results from the test Tuesday during which the tank attached to Atlantis will be filled with super-cold liquid hydrogen. NASA is targeting Jan. 10 as the next possible launch opportunity for Atlantis on mission STS-122. Atlantis will carry the European-built Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station.

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