Friday, November 05, 2010

Hydrogen Leak Scrubs STS-133

Once again, a hydrogen leak discovered during tanking has forced a launch scrub.


Managers Schedule 11 a.m. EDT Meeting to Discuss Scrub Turnaround Options
Fri, 05 Nov 2010 07:25:58 AM PDT

Space shuttle managers and engineers will meet at 11 a.m. EDT to discuss the work necessary to repair a gaseous hydrogen leak and prepare space shuttle Discovery for its next launch attempt.

The earliest opportunity is Monday, Nov. 8, at 12:53 p.m. EST, the last date Discovery can launch in this window. The next launch window for Discovery is Tuesday, Nov. 30 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

At 8:11 a.m., launch was scrubbed because of a hydrogen gas leak at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate, or GUCP, an attachment point between the external tank and a 17-inch pipe that carries gaseous hydrogen safely away from Discovery to the flare stack, where it is burned off.

Shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach characterized the leak as “significant,” similar to what was seen on STS-119 and STS-127, although today’s rate was higher in magnitude and occurred earlier in the fueling process.

The external tank is being drained and will be inerted for about 20 hours before it is safe for technicians to look at the GUCP on Saturday.

The Space Shuttle Program Mission Management Team will meet Saturday after technicians have had the opportunity to troubleshoot the hardware. The MMT will determine if it is possible to achieve a launch attempt Monday.

NASA Television will air a news conference no earlier than 1 p.m. EDT with Mike Moses, Space Shuttle Program launch integration manager and Mission Management Team chair, and Mike Leinbach, shuttle launch director.