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NASA's Discovery Rolls To Major Return To Flight Milestone

Date:
April 13, 2005
Source:
National Aeronautics And Space Administration
Summary:
NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery is one important step closer to launch. Discovery was rolled from its hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Discovery will be attached to its propulsion elements, a redesigned External Tank (ET) and twin Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Space Shuttle Discovery approaches the Rotating and Fixed Service Structures on Launch Pad 39B after rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building. First motion began at 2:04 p.m. EDT April 6, and the Shuttle was hard down on the pad at 1:16 a.m. EDT April 7. The Shuttle sits atop the Mobile Launcher Platform and is transported by the Crawler-Transporter underneath. Launch of Discovery on its Return to Flight mission, STS-114, is targeted for May 15 with a launch window that extends to June 3. During its 12-day mission, Discovery's seven-member crew will test new hardware and techniques to improve Shuttle safety, as well as deliver supplies to the International Space Station.
Credit: NASA

March 29, 2005 -- NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery is one important step closer to launch. Discovery was rolled from its hangar early this morning to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Discovery will be attached to its propulsion elements, a redesigned External Tank (ET) and twin Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Space Shuttle Program," said Bill Parsons, Space Shuttle Program Manager. "This effort has taken a talented team dedicated to meticulously preparing the vehicle and implementing all the modifications for a safe Return to Flight," he added.

Discovery's launch window is from May 15 to June 3. Its mission, designated STS-114, will take Commander Eileen Collins and six crew members to the International Space Station. The mission is the first of two test flights to check out new inspection and repair techniques, as well as to deliver supplies to the Station. It is the first Shuttle mission since the Columbia accident in February 2003.

Discovery's journey began as it was moved from its hangar to the VAB. In the VAB, a lifting sling was attached to the orbiter in preparation for attachment to the ET and twin SRBs. Work on Discovery in the VAB includes installation of a new digital camera, testing electrical and mechanical attachments between the orbiter and ET and umbilical checks.

"I could not be more proud of the team that spent the last two years working on Discovery. We are extremely excited to reach this point in the processing for flight," said Stephanie Stilson, NASA Vehicle Manager for Discovery. "Seeing the orbiter roll to the VAB is the culmination of all of that hard work. We look forward to a safe Return to Flight," she said.

While in the Orbiter Processing Facility, Discovery underwent 41 modifications in response to the Columbia accident and the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. They included addition of the new Orbiter Boom Sensor System; equipping the orbiter with cameras and laser systems to inspect the Shuttle's Thermal Protection System (heat shield) while in space; sensors in the leading edge of the Shuttle's wings, a new safety measure that monitors the orbiter's wings for debris impacts; and a new digital camera to view the ET during launch.

Discovery also completed its Orbiter Major Modification (OMM) period that began in September 2002. Technicians completed 107 additional modifications to Discovery, 17 will be flying for the first time. OMMs are scheduled at regular intervals to enhance safety and performance and to infuse new technology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Aeronautics And Space Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "NASA's Discovery Rolls To Major Return To Flight Milestone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050411141309.htm>.
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. (2005, April 13). NASA's Discovery Rolls To Major Return To Flight Milestone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050411141309.htm
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "NASA's Discovery Rolls To Major Return To Flight Milestone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050411141309.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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