Feeds

NASA patches Endeavour's leaky plumbing

Good to go for July lift-off

Application security programs and practises

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.