Window of Discovery to open this year as NASA managers determined Dec. 3 was the quickest the shuttle might fly. That would provide Discovery four days to explode off on its last journey, after which the task could be postponed until behind schedule February.
The verdict came as managers evaluated the condition of some repairs underway because a hydrogen gas drip scoured the shuttle’s Nov. 5 open effort.
When the commence window opens work to inclusive the repairs, examine test results and make clear why Discovery be able to still fly securely could not be finished in time to initiate Nov. 30.
Candrea Thomas, a Kennedy Space Center spokeswoman said, “We have allowed the work drive the agenda, not the other way around.”
Technicians have restored the entire hardware connected to the hydrogen leak, which happened where a launch pad voice line attaches to the shuttle’s orange outside tank. Tests have created no more drip.
The teams installed reinforced metal support bars to replace sections that cracked during fueling Nov. 5 on a nearby section of the tank.
Technicians prepare to begin spraying the repaired vicinity with new protecting foam that will get around four days to heal.
In order to update their progress shuttle managers prepare a special meeting.
To place the official objective launch date a conference with senior NASA officials is anticipated this coming November 29.
The countdown would start the following day if that conference clears Discovery for a Dec. 3 launch try for around 2:52 in the morning.
Six astronauts and Discovery plan to fly an 11-day mission to the International Space Station to transport spare parts, a robot and a storage module.