STS-133 - Shuttle Discovery External Tank Prepared for Test Print
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Tuesday, 14 December 2010 18:28

On Dec. 10 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians at Launch Pad 39A install strain gauges on space shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank. Crews will install 89 strain gauges and temperature sensors to precisely record movement and temperatures from the external tank's ribbed intertank area as it chills and warms again during the fuel loading and emptying process. The tank holds super-cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, which cause the tank to shrink by about half an inch.

The test is planned for no earlier than Dec. 17 and will help verify repairs associated with cracks on the tops of two 21-foot-long, U-shaped aluminum brackets, called stringers, and help engineers determine what caused the cracks in the first place.

Managers and engineers will review the data gathered from the instrumented test before determining the next course of action. Discovery’s next launch opportunity is no earlier than Feb. 3 at 1:34 a.m. EST.


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Last Updated on Saturday, 25 December 2010 13:12
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