Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ferry Flight Preps Ahead of Schedule

Discovery’s Ferry Preparations Move Ahead; Friday Departure Possible09.17.09

Preparation of the Space Shuttle Discovery for its ferry flight back to Florida is still running slightly ahead of schedule at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Southern California, and managers expect that preparations will be complete and Discovery will be ready to begin its cross-country ferry flight to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida atop a modified Boeing 747 by Friday morning, Sept. 18.

The final date and projected time for Discovery’s departure from Edwards will be determined at a Flight Readiness Review, currently slated for Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday, United Space Alliance technicians completed draining of water from the Power Reactant Storage and Distribution System fuel cells, installation of the drag chute ferry door, and installation of the tail cone attach point fittings. Installation of the tail cone over the main engine rocket nozzles, which reduces the shuttle’s aerodynamic drag during the ferry flight, is in work Thursday. Once that is complete, technicians will focus on several operations such as raising the landing gear and control surfaces requiring powering up Discovery’s hydraulic systems.

Mating of Discovery to the modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is then expected to get under way late Thursday.

If departure occurs Friday morning, the 747-shuttle combo could arrive at the Kennedy Space Center as early as late Saturday, Sept. 19, weather and other factors permitting.

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