Archive - Feb 13, 2009 - Story
WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference Friday, Feb. 20, following a review of space shuttle Discovery's readiness for flight and an assessment of shuttle flow control valve testing. An official launch date for the STS-119 mission has not been set, but for planning purposes, liftoff now is targeted for no earlier than Feb. 27.
The new planning date is not expected to affect the launch dates for missions that will follow Discovery's flight, STS-125 to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and STS-127 to the International Space Station.
Teams from multiple NASA centers and contractor sites have made significant progress in understanding what caused the damage to a flow control valve in shuttle Endeavour during its mission in November. There are three valves in each shuttle that channel gaseous hydrogen from the main engines to the external fuel tank. The engineering teams have performed a tremendous amount of work, including computer modeling and actual tests to determine the consequences if a piece of a valve were to break off and strike shuttle and external fuel tank components. More time was needed to complete analyses and testing necessary to fly safely.
An International Space Station Expedition 18 ARISS school contact has been planned with participants at South Park Elementary, South Park, Pennsylvania USA on 17 February. The event is scheduled to begin at approximately 1811 UTC.
The contact will be a telebridge between stations NA1SS and K6DUE. The contact should be audible over eastern N. America. Interested parties are invited to listen in on the 145.80 MHz downlink. Audio from the contact should also be available via the AMSAT conference on EchoLink and via the 9010 Discovery reflector on IRLP. The participants are expected to conduct the conversation in English.
A new Progress cargo carrier docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 2:18 a.m. EST Friday with more than 2.4 tons of oxygen, air, propellant and other supplies and equipment aboard.
The station's 32nd Progress unpiloted spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory more than 1,910 pounds of propellant, more than 100 pounds of oxygen and air, and more than 2,860 pounds of dry cargo. Total cargo weight is 4,894 pounds.
Progress 32 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday at 12:49 a.m. It replaces the trash-filled Progress 31 which was undocked from Pirs on Feb. 5 and destroyed on re-entry.