[sarex] Astronauts Finish Launch Practice
azrowe80 at verizon.net
Fri Oct 12 18:26:08 PDT 2007
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C#31468
*Astronauts Finish Launch Practice*
The STS-120 astronauts capped off three days of exercises and training
at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida by boarding space shuttle
Discovery for a simulated countdown Wednesday morning. After the
rehearsal concluded, the crew members flew back to their home base in
Houston to complete their final preparations for the targeted launch of
Discovery on Oct. 23.
Image Above: The STS-120 crew poses just outside Discovery's hatch. The
astronauts are, left to right, Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski ,
Stephanie Wilson, Commander Pam Melroy, Pilot George Zamka, Mission
Specialists Paolo Nespoli, Doug Wheelock (front) and Dan Tani. Image
credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
+ View larger image
While the astronauts practiced for launch, shuttle program managers
started two days of meetings Tuesday in preparation for next week's
Flight Readiness Review, which is scheduled for Oct. 16.
One of the topics discussed before the conclusion of the program review
Wednesday involved the reinforced carbon carbon, or RCC, on Discovery’s
wing leading edge panels. In the past, there have been post-flight
indications that the edges of a couple of panels have lost small amounts
of their upper-level coating. Thermography, or thermal imagery, has been
used to inspect the panels in order to identify any internal defects
that could lead to coating loss.
The NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) has been working with
shuttle engineers to better understand the potential causes of coating
loss. At Wednesday's meeting, NESC recommended replacing three of
Discovery's 44 panels.
Discovery has flown at least twice with these panels in the current
condition, and with no indications of degradation based on thermography.
At this point, the Space Shuttle Program has determined that Discovery's
astronauts can safely carry out their mission without having to replace
+ STS-120 Mission Overview
+ Harmony Node 2
+ Space Shuttle Discovery
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