Technicians Finish Applying Foam Over Tank Sensors

Space Shuttle

Wed, 15 Dec 2010 07:46:53 AM CST

Cold and windy conditions at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida have slowed preparations this week for an upcoming tanking test on space shuttle Discovery. Technicians on Tuesday night finished re-foaming areas of the tank where strain gauges and temperature sensors were placed. The test remains scheduled for no earlier than Friday, weather permitting. The testing is focused on analyzing the stringers in the ribbed intertank portion of the external tank. Engineers want to find out precisely how the tank will react when filled with super-cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

A few days after the test, Discovery will be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, where more scans of the external tank will be done and the test instrumentation will be removed and insulating foam re-applied. Managers will decide the next step for the STS-133 preparations after evaluating the test results. The current plan calls for Discovery to return to the launch pad in