Friday, December 17, 2010


A daylong test of space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank took place Dec. 17 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to help engineers evaluate support beams called stringers that make up the ribbed portion of the tank.

The tops of two stringers cracked during fueling operations on Nov. 5. That launch attempt was scrubbed after an attaching point between a ventilation pipe and the external tank, known as the ground umbilical carrier plate, or GUCP, developed a hydrogen leak. The “tanking test”, as it’s called, is a critical step in preparing Discovery for launch on its STS133 mission to the International Space Station. The STS-133 launch window opens February 3.Several hours into the test, Mike Moses, Space Shuttle Program Launch Integration manager, said the results looked good although it would take a few weeks to fully analyze them.
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