Cape Kennedy, Florida -- NASA teams have now completed final inspections of the repair work on space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. An environmental enclosure, built to support foaming operations, was removed.
A special program requirements control board session will examine the situation tomorrow (24 Nov) to review the analysis and repairs that are required to safely launch shuttle Discovery on its STS-133 mission, a 23 NASA announcement said. Pending a successful review of the flight rationale at that meeting, a launch status briefing would be held with senior NASA management on Monday, 29 Nov at Kennedy, the announcement added.
Kennedy's 'Call-to-Stations' to begin the launch countdown will be no earlier than 30 Nov, supporting a first launch attempt no earlier than 3 Dec at about 2:52 a.m. EST.
The repairs were necessitated after cracks were found in the insultating foam and underlying metal stringers. After removing some foams from the area, doublers, twice as thick as the original stringer metal, were installed to replace the two cracked stringers on the shuttle's external fuel tank.
Once this work was completed, new foam was applied over them to restore the insulation, which is vital for keeping the liquid fuels in the external tank as cold as possible.