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  Breaking News: STS-114 Possible Delay

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Author Topic:   Breaking News: STS-114 Possible Delay
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-12-2005 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The space shuttle Discovery has been struck by a window shade that fell during launch preparations here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, an agency spokesperson told collectSPACE.com.

NASA spokesperson June Malone confirmed reports that a window cover being removed by pad engineers fell from the orbiter and stuck its left OMS pod. Details on any damage caused in the incident, or its impact to the shuttle’s launch timeline are unclear at this moment, she said.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited July 12, 2005).]

Rodina
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posted 07-12-2005 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

That was probably the longest three seconds of that guy's life.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 07-12-2005 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The damage was to tiles attached to a carrier panel at the leading edge of Discovery's left OMS pod. A carrier panel is a slab of metal to which tiles are already attached when installed. They are routing a possible replacement panel to Discovery right now and if it fits, the estimate is it may take upwards of an hour to swap out and reinstall.

The damage was caused by a window shade that is made of plastic with soft foam edges. It fell on its own; no people were in the vacinity at the time. Damage was to more than one tile on the carrier panel.

Stephanie Stilson, NASA Vehicle Manager for Space Shuttle Discovery just finished briefing the press about the above.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited July 12, 2005).]

HouseDadX4
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posted 07-12-2005 05:11 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmmmm...this sounds a little...."shady"...to me...

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
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posted 07-12-2005 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like "Murphy" broke into pad 39B.

Tim

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-12-2005 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The space shuttle Discovery has been struck by a window shade that fell during launch preparations here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, an agency spokesperson told collectSPACE.com.

Discovery vehicle manager Stephanie Stilson said the plastic window cover on one of the shuttle’s two overhead windows separated from the orbiter and struck the leading edge of its left Orbital Maneuver System (OMS) pod. The pod houses one of two engines used by shuttles to maneuver in orbit. Damage to a carrier panel on the pod has been reported, and a spare has been delivered to the pad engineers.

"It's a soft window cover... some tile damage has occurred," Stilson said.

Stilson said engineers are unclear when the panel fell, though it did occur during an extended hold in Discovery's launch countdown. The repair should only take one hour to complete once started, she added.

The repair must be completed before launch officials remove the protective rotating service structure currently covering shielding Discovery at the launch pad.

NASA spokesperson June Malone told SPACE.com that there is no information yet on how the incident may impact the shuttle’s launch timeline.

Discovery is NASA's first shuttle to fly since the 2003 Columbia disaster that killed seven astronauts and destroyed one orbiter. NASA has spent the last two and a half years striving to increase shuttle spaceflight safety.

At the time of the incident the shuttle was less than 24 hours from launch.

-- Tariq Malik and Robert Z. Pearlman

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 07-12-2005 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Less than 24 hours from launch, the space shuttle Discovery is undergoing repair as engineers work to replace damaged tiles on the aft of the spacecraft.

Sometime during a long hold in Discovery's launch countdown, a plastic window cover fell from its perch about 60 feet, striking a heat-tile covered carrier panel protecting the orbiter's left Orbiter Maneuvering System (OMS) pod. Tile damage has been reported and engineers are swapping the carrier panel out with a spare, shuttle officials said.

The orbiter's STS-114 mission to test new orbital tools and hardware to inspect and repair shuttle tiles and heat-resistant panels is slated to launch on July 13 at 3:50:53 p.m. EDT (1950:53 GMT). NASA officials said it is unclear whether the carrier panel repair will impact tomorrow’s scheduled launch, and will provide an update from NASA at 7:00 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT).

"The damage was found during an inspection," said Stephanie Stilson, NASA's vehicle manager for Discovery. "The carrier panel is a piece of metal with tiles attached."

Stilson said that NASA has spare carrier panels and engineers are attempting swap the damaged unit out, a process that takes approximately an hour once started.

The tiles that cover shuttle OMS pods are part of the orbiter's thermal protection system and are designed to protect it the searing heat of atmospheric reentry. Discovery's STS-114 mission is slated to evaluate new inspection tools to survey shuttle tiles and heat-resistant panels in orbit, as well as test potential repair techniques.

Discovery is to be NASA's first shuttle to fly since the 2003 Columbia disaster that killed seven astronauts and destroyed one orbiter. Damage to a different section of Columbia - the leading edge of its left wing - sustained during launch was cited as the root cause by investigators. During Columbia’s Jan. 16, 2003 launch, a piece of foam insulation shook loose from the orbiter's external tank and struck its wing, gouging a hole that subsequently allowed hot thermal gases enter the wing and destroy the vehicle.

NASA has spent the last two and half years redesigning shuttle and external tank system to prevent such launch debris from occurring again.

-- Tariq Malik and Robert Z. Pearlman

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited July 12, 2005).]

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-12-2005 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Engineers conducted minor repairs to NASA's space shuttle Discovery late Tuesday after an errant window cover fell from the orbiter and damaged its aft section. The incident will not delay tomorrow's planned launched of the orbiter.

Earlier today, a soft plastic cover with foam-lined edges fell from one of Discovery's two overhead windows and struck the heat-resistant tiles of the shuttle's left Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod. No engineers were working in the area at the time, NASA officials said.

The window cover hit a carrier panel on the pod lined with three of the black, heat-resistant tiles that protect the orbiter from searing temperatures during atmospheric reentry. Two of those tiles were damaged, prompting engineers to swap out the panel with a spare, shuttle officials said.

"This is a minor repair for us," said Stephanie Stilson, NASA's vehicle manager for the Discovery orbiter. "We change out carrier panels on a daily basis."

But Discovery is less than 24 hours from launch here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC), so shuttle engineers at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas are busy tonight studying the orbiter's internal structure to ensure the incident did not cause additional damage.

"We fully expect they will give us a go in the morning," Stilson told reporters during an ad hoc press briefing tonight.

Discovery's launch countdown was in a long, planned hold when the damage was reported. The one-hour repair was conducted so swiftly that no changes to the shuttle's July 13 launch at 3:50:53 p.m. EDT (1950:53 GMT), NASA officials said.

Stilson said the shuttle window cover that damaged Discovery weighs less than two pounds and fell about 65 feet before it hit the OMS pod. Its carrier panel target is a piece of aluminum which was pre-bonded with tiles before installation on the orbiter, she added.

Engineers discovered the loose window cover during preparations to rollback the rotating service structure that has shrouded Discovery since it arrived at the launch pad on June 15. That rollback was delayed from its planned 7:00 p.m. (2300 GMT) start due to the needed repairs, NASA officials said.

Discovery will be NASA's first shuttle to fly since the 2003 Columbia disaster that killed seven astronauts and destroyed one orbiter.

During Columbia's Jan. 16, 2003 launch, a piece of foam insulation shook loose from the orbiter's external tank and struck its wing, gouging a hole that subsequently allowed hot thermal gases enter the wing and destroy the vehicle during reentry. Although that damage occurred with Columbia's thermal protection system, it was the orbiter's reinforced carbon carbon panel lining the wing – not tiles - that were struck.

NASA has spent the last two and half years redesigning shuttle and external tank system to prevent such launch debris from occurring again.

"I'm actually very proud that we saw it, caught and were able to act so quickly," Stilson said. "That's a great amount of work in a short period of time."

-- Tariq Malik And Robert Z. Pearlman

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited July 12, 2005).]

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