Sunday, June 21, 2009


This is not my normal post, but as it is central to our recent discussion, I thought it would be worth re-posting this from NASA:

Engineers Narrow In on Cause of Endeavour Hydrogen Leak
Sun, 21 Jun 2009 10:40:29 AM EDT

Space Shuttle Program Manager John Shannon says engineers believe they now understand why a hydrogen gas vent line has been leaking, causing shuttle Endeavour's STS-127 mission to be postponed twice. He says a plate that attaches the vent line to Endeavour's external fuel tank is slightly misaligned and that's allowing a small leak to happen during the fueling process.

Teams at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A are taking precise measurements of the attaching plate during the weekend before crews disassemble it, realign the plate and install a new set of seals to fix the leak. Shannon also says technicians are preparing to test the repair plan by filling Endeavour's external tank with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in the next week and a half, just as they would for a launch. This "tanking test" will confirm whether the repairs will work before another launch attempt is made. Hydrogen leaks in the vent line postponed Endeavour's launch attempts June 13 and 17, delaying its 16-day flight to the International Space Station. If the repairs are successful, Endeavour's next launch attempt is targeted for July 11 at 7:39 p.m. EDT.

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Welcome to the Missions to the Moon book blog. This is a place to re-live the heady days of the Apollo and Soyuz lunar programs- perhaps the crowning achievements of the 20th Century. Many blog entries will include a new downloadable image or artifact from the space age- items rarely seen and not available in print. It's all in the spirit of my newest book, Missions to the Moon- to remember the great adventure of the Golden Age of space exploration, and ponder what wonders await us in space.

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