The Tech Herald

NASA: More cracks found on Discovery's external fuel tank

by Steven Mostyn - Dec 31 2010, 12:09

X-ray scans reveal more structural cracks. Image: NASA.

Although NASA’s aging fleet of space shuttles are due to be withdrawn from service in 2011, potentially forced early retirement could be looming after engineers working on the Discovery uncovered a fresh batch of structural flaws on its external fuel tank.

According to an AFP report citing official NASA confirmation, four small cracks have been located on the external fuel tank’s metal support struts, which will apparently require two or three days to remedy.

Initially shunted back from its November 5 launch date due to inclement weather and technical issues, the shuttle suffered a more significant stream of delays following the discovery of damage to the fuel tank’s foam insulation, which, in turn, led engineers to find worrying cracks in the tank’s aluminium skin.

Once safely airborne, Discovery will spend a total of 11 days re-supplying the International Space Station, during which time it will deliver a robotic assistant and install a new storage capsule.

The Discovery is presently housed within the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where teams are scanning the orbiter, its external fuel tank and the two solid rocket boosters for further possible damage.

NASA presently has Discovery’s final mission (STS-133) pencilled in for a tentative launch on February 3.

Around the Web

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus

From Autosaur.com

Chevy Colorado And GMC Canyon Ship To Dealers

General Motors have started shipping their new 2015 Chevy Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon to de...

Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition Pictures

Aston Martin have revealed some properly moody pictures of their new black and white Vanquis...

Nissan GT-R NISMO Available in Gran Turismo 6

Nissan and Sony have added the new Nissan GT-R NISMO to the in-game dealerships in  Gra...

2015 Kia Soul EV Prices

Kia have announced prices for their all-new Kia Soul EV. The company says this is their firs...

Celebrity Photographer Uli Weber Lauches New Goodwood Revival Book

Celebrity and fashion photographer Uli Weber is to launch a new book at this year’s Goodwood...