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  STS-121: No Earlier than July 1

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Author Topic:   STS-121: No Earlier than July 1
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-14-2006 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Due to a decision made today to change out the low level fuel sensors (ECO sensors) in the External Tank, the launch of STS-121 has been reset by NASA to no earlier than July 1. Space Shuttle Discovery may be ready before that date but constraints require a daylight launch, hence the July 1 NET date.

Changeout of the ECO sensors will take approximately three weeks.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-14-2006 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA announced today July 1 to 19, 2006, is the new launch planning window for Space Shuttle Discovery's mission (STS-121). The window gives the agency time to do additional engineering work and analysis to ensure a safe flight for Discovery and its crew.

Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale made the announcement during a news conference from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The decision to target July followed a two-day meeting on the external fuel tank's engine cutoff (ECO) sensors. The sensors indicate whether the tank still has fuel during liftoff. During testing, one of the four ECO sensors had a slightly different reading than is expected. Shuttle officials have decided they will remove and replace all four liquid hydrogen sensors.

"We've been saying for months that our engineering work would determine when we fly our next mission. Targeting July is the right choice in order to make smart decisions," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations.

Other issues factored into the decision to adjust the STS-121 planning window:

  • Testing and analysis are required on the shuttle's modified external tank. The testing will help verify the tank is safe to fly without the protuberance air load (PAL) foam ramp. The PAL ramp was removed after a large piece of foam fell from that area during Discovery's July 2005 launch. More analysis is needed to decide whether changes are needed on the tank's ice frost foam ramps.
  • Repair work on the shuttle's robotic arm must be completed. Technicians on a work platform accidentally bumped the arm last week, causing a tiny crack. The arm will be removed for repair.
The STS-121 mission will take Shuttle Commander Steve Lindsey and six crew members to the International Space Station. This is the second mission in the Return to Flight sequence to evaluate new heat shield inspection and repair techniques and to deliver supplies and equipment to the station.

For information about the Space Shuttle Program, the STS-121 mission and its crew, visit:

New Member


posted 04-13-2006 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for michaelSN99   Click Here to Email michaelSN99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
meanwhile the work needed in order of changing the faulty ECO-sensors are successfully continueing.

the so called "manhole" at the aft end of et-119 has been openend after the foam at this section was removed. the sensors were replaced inside the tank and tested.
following the leak and sensor checks the "manhole" was closed again and now technicans prepare in refoaming the cover.

the work will take place with the tank in a horizontal position.

for more information and images you can visit the ksc media gallery or

michael may
ISS information page + chronology of manned space flight


Posts: 1181
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 04-13-2006 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On a related note, from Florida Today:
NASA is mapping out plans to test shuttle Discovery's external tank at its Kennedy Space Center launch pad, but a final decision on whether to proceed with the fuel-loading operation still is pending.
Among other things, the test -- which would take place about June 1 -- would enable engineers to determine whether four new liquid hydrogen fuel-depletion sensors in the tank are working properly.

"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

[This message has been edited by DavidH (edited April 13, 2006).]


Posts: 1295
From: Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 04-13-2006 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
what timing! my vaction is schedule the same time! I have a destination now.


Posts: 1843
From: Daytona Beach, FL
Registered: May 2000

posted 04-13-2006 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you mean June 1, that's actually not the best time to visit...they will close off tour areas during the test.

All times are CT (US)

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