NASA Television Will Air Space Shuttle Discovery Tanking Test

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA will conduct a tanking test at the
agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, Dec. 17, to
evaluate repairs made to space shuttle Discovery's external fuel
tank. Managers decided Dec. 3 to perform more tests and analysis
before proceeding with Discovery's STS-133 mission to the
International Space Station.

The test will air live on NASA Television beginning at 6:45 a.m. EST.
Discovery's external tank will be filled with liquid hydrogen and
liquid oxygen, as it is before launch. Technicians placed 89
instruments on the tank to assess its performance during the fuel loading.

Strain and thermal sensors will record movement and temperatures from
the tank's ribbed intertank area as it chills and warms during fuel
loading and emptying. The tank holds super-cold liquid oxygen chilled
to minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit and liquid hydrogen at minus 423 F.
The cryogenic propellants cause the tank to shrink by about one-half inch.

The test will help verify repairs associated with cracks on the tops
of two 21-foot-long, U-shaped aluminum brackets, called stringers, on
the external tank. It also will help engineers determine what caused
the cracks during Discovery's launch countdown on Nov. 5. Technicians
repaired the cracks and reapplied foam insulation on the stringers last month.

Results of the instrumented test will not be known immediately.
Managers and engineers will review the test data and determine the
next course of action. Discovery's next launch opportunity is no
earlier than 1:34 a.m. on Feb. 3.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:


For STS-133 crew and mission information, visit:


Source: NASA

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