Feeds

Discovery (finally) good to go on 24 Feb

NASA confident about 'elegant' fuel tank fix

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

NASA has announced it has resolved the problem with Discovery's external fuel tank and the shuttle is good to launch on its STS-133 mission to the International Space Station on 24 February.

The vehicle was grounded on 5 November by a fuel leak caused by cracks in two of the tank's 108 U-shaped aluminium brackets, known as "stringers".

Two months of head-scratching have led the space agency to conclude that the problem was caused by "a combination of manufacturing issues and stresses put on the tank when it is filled with supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen", according to shuttle programme manager John Shannon.

Engineers will now install supportive reinforcements on the stringers in what Shannon described as "an elegant fix to the problem".

He added: "I'm very confident that we have finally figured this out."

Discovery will carry the converted multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, now destined to become permanent extra storage at the ISS, plus essential spares for the orbiting outpost.

The final shuttle mission, Endeavour's STS-134, will now probably be knocked back from 1 April to 18 April, to allow for additional testing on its external fuel tank, the space agency noted yesterday.

Whether commander Mark Kelly is on board remains to be seen. He's taken a leave of absence to be with his wife Gabrielle Giffords, who's recovering from a gunshot wound to the head she received last Saturday in Tuscon, allegedly at the hands of Jared Loughner.

NASA's associate administrator for space operations, Bill Gerstenmaier, said: "We're going to let Mark decide what he needs to do." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
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?