Cape Canaveral, Florida -- NASA moved the space shuttle Discovery from Launch Pad 39A to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on 21 Dec for additional work related to its final scheduled mission.
US space agency NASA said that in the VAB, technicians will scan below the polyurethane foam insulation surrounding the intertank section of Discovery's external tank to look for any issues, such as cracks.
They will also reapply foam after removing 89 sensors from the tank's aluminium skin following an instrumented tanking test in which the tanks were filled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen on 17 Dec.
The sensors measured changes in the tank as the super-cold propellants were pumped in and drained out during the test. Data and analysis from the test will be used to try to determine what caused the tops of two, 21-foot-long support beams, called stringers, on the outside of the intertank, to crack during fuelling on 5 Nov.
NASA now says that Discovery's next launch attempt is no earlier than 1:37 a.m. on 3 Feb.
PIC: Space shuttle Discovery waits to roll back from Launch Pad 39A to the VAB inFlorida early in the morning of 21 Dec 2010, with the beginningof the total lunar eclipse clearly in view."