March 5, 2009
March 6 Briefing For STS-119
NASA will hold a news conference Friday, March 6, following a review of space shuttle Discovery's readiness for flight and an assessment of shuttle flow control valve testing and inspection. The news conference will begin no earlier than 2:30 p.m. EST at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The flight readiness review is expected to set an official launch date for the STS-119 mission. For planning purposes, liftoff now is tentatively targeted for March 11.The Space Shuttle Program moved the targeted launch a day earlier following extensive review of flow control valve inspection data and assessment of ongoing and planned work. A formal presentation of the flow control work and a thorough evaluation of all aspects of flight will be made at Friday's readiness review.
Three flow control valves, one for each space shuttle main engine, channel gaseous hydrogen from the engines through the main propulsion system and back to the external fuel tank. This flow regulation maintains the tank's structural integrity and delivers liquid hydrogen to the engines at the correct pressure. NASA and contractor teams have been working to identify what caused damage to a flow control valve on shuttle Endeavour during its November 2008 flight.
The briefing participants are:
- Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, NASA Headquarters, Washington
- John Shannon, Space Shuttle Program manager, NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston
- Mike Leinbach, Space Shuttle launch director, NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida
NASA Television and the agency's Web site will broadcast the March 6 briefing live. Media may ask questions from participating NASA locations. Reporters should contact their preferred NASA center to confirm its participation.
Image Caption: On Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a technician holds one of space shuttle Discovery's gaseous hydrogen flow control valves after its removal. Two of the three valves being removed will undergo detailed inspection. Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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