Atlantis Tank Repairs Under Way

Mar 12, 2007
Atlantis Tank Repairs Under Way
In highbay 1 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, technicians begin to carefully sand away the red dye that has been applied to the external tank to help expose cracks or compression dents. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossman

Space Shuttle Atlantis is in the Vehicle Assembly Building for assessment and repairs due to a late February thunderstorm with hail.

Workers positioned platforms around the shuttle to allow for inspections and repairs to hail-damaged areas. Some foam sanding has begun in the nose cone area of the tank.

Inspections are finished for the solid rocket boosters and nearly complete for the orbiter, with 20 of 28 hail-damaged areas, all on the left side of the vehicle, already repaired.

A new target launch date has not been determined, but teams will focus on preparing Atlantis for liftoff in late April.

Mission STS-117 to the International Space Station will be scheduled sometime after a Russian Soyuz spacecraft returns from the station. The Soyuz is delivering new station crew members and returning others to Earth in late April. Adequate time is needed between the Soyuz undocking and the shuttle's arrival to the station.

During the 11-day mission, the six-member crew will install a new truss segment, retract a set of solar arrays and unfold a new set on the starboard side of the station. Lessons learned from two previous missions will provide the astronauts with new techniques and tools to perform their duties.

Atlantis Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault and Mission Specialists Jim Reilly, Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson and John "Danny" Olivas will continue training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston as they await a new target launch date.

The STS-117 flight crew will return to Kennedy Space Center a few days before launch.

Source: NASA

Explore further: NASA's reliance on outsourcing launches causes a dilemma for the space agency

Related Stories

Looking back at the Mir space station

Jun 18, 2015

The Mir Space Station was Russia's greatest space station, and the first modular space station to be assembled in orbit. Commissioned in 1986, the name can be translated from Russian as "peace", "world", ...

Spaceflight alters bacterial social networks

Aug 15, 2013

When astronauts launch into space, a microbial entourage follows. And the sheer number of these followers would give celebrities on Twitter a run for their money. The estimate is that normal, healthy adults ...

Bacteria sent into space behave in mysterious ways

Jun 25, 2013

(Phys.org) —Colonies of bacteria grown aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis behaved in ways never before observed on Earth, according to a new NASA-funded study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, ...

Recommended for you

Crash test assesses plane emergency locator transmitters

16 hours ago

The Cessna 172 airplane dangled 82 feet in the air – looking almost like it was coming in for a landing, except for the cables attaching it to a huge gantry at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, ...

NASA image: Curiosity's stars and stripes

17 hours ago

This view of the American flag medallion on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 44th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012). ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.