|Volume: 03, Issue: 06||03/23/2005|
Shuttle Crew Tests Equipment for Return to FlightSpace Shuttle Discovery astronauts recently had the chance to work with some of the equipment they will be taking to space. Flight commander Eileen Collins and her crew were at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., for the Payload Crew Equipment Interface Test on March 18, 2005.
The astronauts performed tests to ensure the equipment for the Return to Flight mission's three spacewalks worked properly. They also inspected the cargo containers installed in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, called Raffaello. Additionally, they performed fit checks on the Thermal Protection System (TPS) repair sample box, the Control Moment Gyro (CMG), and the External Stowage Platform-2 (ESP2).
The sample box contains pieces of the Shuttle's heat-shielding tile. The samples will enable the crew to test new on-orbit repair techniques recommended by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.
The new gyroscope will replace an inoperable one on the International Space Station. CMGs provide attitude control for the Station, keeping it properly positioned in space. The ESP2, similar to a large toolbox, will carry replacement parts to the Station. The platform will be deployed, attached to the Station's airlock and used as a permanent spare parts facility.
While the astronauts tested the equipment they will be using, engineers preparing the Discovery orbiter for flight suffered a minor setback. The orbiter was to be moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building on March 22 to be attached to the Solid Rocket Boosters and External Tank, but the rollover date has been changed to March 27 or 28 due to additional work needed on wiring in the payload bay and on the main and nose landing gear doors.
The Return to Flight mission of the Space Shuttle (STS-114) is targeted for launch during a window from May 15 to June 3. STS-114 is the first of two test flights following the Columbia accident. The seven-member Discovery crew will fly to the Station to evaluate procedures for flight safety, including orbiter inspection and repair techniques, and will deliver much-needed supplies.
Still photos of today's payload tests are available on the Internet at http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/index.cfm .
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