The Space Shuttle fleet is housed and processed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla. The order the Space Shuttles are listed in this report does not necessarily reflect the chronological order of future missions.
On Tuesday, Discovery completed its last major power-down period. It was powered up in preparation for its Return to Flight mission to the International Space Center.
The power-up follows new modifications to help monitor the vehicle for safe flight. In response to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board’s recommendation to monitor the orbiter and wing leading edge during ascent and to view the External Tank upon separation from the Space Shuttle, technicians finished installing wiring for a new External Tank separation camera, wing leading edge sensors, and the orbiter boom sensor system.
Work is progressing on schedule during Atlantis’s four-month power-down period. Structural and baseline wire inspections continue throughout the vehicle, along with wire separation and Return to Flight modifications. Technicians are performing the wire separation modification as a safety measure so that redundant wires are not located next to each other.
Wing leading edge work continues. Thirteen right-hand Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) panels have been hung and 19 spar fittings installed. The spar fittings, which are a series of floating joints that reduce stress on the panels when the Shuttles are in flight, mechanically attach the RCC panels to the wing. Following the installation of the chin panel, workers continue final closeout of the area. The chin panel is the smile-shaped section of RCC that fits directly below the nose cap to provide a thermal barrier during reentry.
Space Shuttle Endeavour is in its Orbiter Major Modification period, which began last December. Electrical modifications continue in the crew module. Body flap and left-hand wing leading edge bead blasting is complete, with final detailed clean up of minor corrosion underway.
Next week, the nose cap and chin panel are scheduled for a temporary installation so technicians can begin the work on the Thermal Protection System tiles surrounding the area. After two to three months, the nose cap and chin panel will be taken down, and the nose cap sent to the Thermal Protection System Facility at Kennedy Space Center for the installation and fit check of the more than 200 Thermal Protection System blankets that line the nose cap.
Previous Space Shuttle processing status reports are available on the Internet at:
For information about NASA’s Return to Flight efforts on the Internet, visit: