December 18, 2010

“˜So Far, So Good’ With Discovery Test Results

NASA announced positive test results of its Discovery space shuttle on Friday after cracks appeared during a countdown last month, which delayed its final launch.

"So far, so good," said Allard Beutel, a spokesman for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, adding that there was no immediate sign of the cracks or the hydrogen leak.

"It looks like we're getting good data," said Mike Moses, a launch manager at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

"It's definitely getting us back to a launch posture," he added.

Engineers said it would take several days to analyze the results from tension and temperature sensors that were placed on the fuel tank.

The tank was pressurized to flight levels in a mock countdown on Friday before it was drained.  The sensors will continue to collect results through Saturday as the tank returns to normal temperatures.

NASA said in a statement that the instruments are expected to gather at least 6 terabytes worth of data.

Engineers are trying to determine why a pair of "stringers" cracked during the countdown for the shuttle's final launch into space.

Discovery's final mission to the International Space Station has been delayed until a launch window from February 3-10.


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