Feeds

NASA patches Endeavour's leaky plumbing

Good to go for July lift-off

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A successful fueling test conducted today on space shuttle Endeavour's troublesome plumbing has cleared the way for another launch attempt July 11.

Endeavour's mission to the ISS was scrubbed twice last month due to safety concerns over a leak found in the shuttle's hydrogen vent line that connects to the shuttle's massive external fuel tank.

Early this morning, NASA simulated a launch day fueling by pumping 526,00 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the tank to check for signs of abnormal gaseous hydrogen leaks.

"There were absolutely no leak indications whatsoever noted on the two leak detectors," launch director Pete Nickolenko stated. "We'll continue to look at the data, and our next step is to move toward launch."

NASA boffins believe the cause of the trouble was a slight misalignment of the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate (pictured below) that attaches a gas vent line to Endeavour's external fuel tank. The misalignment was likely putting uneven pressure on a seal, causing hydrogen gas to leak out during the extremely low temperatures that occur during fueling.

The agency said technicians realigned the plate and installed a new set of seals to fix the leak over the weekend.

Today, when the shuttle's liquid hydrogen tank was 98 per cent full and "topping" mode began, a vent vale at the top began cycling as planned, dispersing excess hydrogen gas through a vent system that carries it safely away from the launch pad. During the two June launch attempts, the hydrogen gas leak was detected outside the plate attached to the external tank.

With Endeavour's plumbing now looking good, NASA has set a launch target for July 11 at 7:39 pm EDT (12 July at 2:39 am GMT)

Endeavour's STS-127 mission to the International Space Station will feature five spacewalks and the completion of Japan's Kibo laboratory. The module will provide the ISS with a "front porch" that allow experiments to be exposed to space. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.