Excerpt: STS-107 Studies Underway at MSFC (Internal memo)

Status Report From: Marshall Space Flight Center
Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2003

4. ORBITER TOOLING MOVES FROM CA TO LA (Smelser): The decision has been made to move the orbiter tooling from California to New Orleans, Louisiana, and to transfer responsibility for shipment, storage at MAF, and inventory control to Lockheed Martin.

1. STS-107 NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS DOCUMENT (Parker/Roberts): The Terrestrial and Planetary Environments Team and Space Environments Team of the Environments Group/ED44 has completed a draft version of the STS-107 Natural Environments Data document for the Space Shuttle Integration Office at Johnson Space Center. The document contains a summary of the pre-launch and launch atmospheric environment, and the on-orbit space environments. The next draft, planned for release in early 3/03 will also include the re-entry atmospheric environment.

2. STS-107 EXTERNAL TANK ICE/FROST ANALYSES (McConnaughey/Turner/ Hooton): A thermal Systems Improved Numerical Differencing Analyzer model to predict the amount of ice/frost (if any) was run using nominal tank foam thickness and the weather at lift-off of STS-107 on 1/16. The model predicted that no ice/frost formed prior to launch and if, by chance, there was some accumulation of ice, as much as a quarter-inch would have melted at the T+80 second mark.

5. STS-107 HIGH DEFINITION TV LAUNCH VIDEO (Bowerman/Grubbs): The Engineering Analysis Team/TD53 was supported with traditional analog videos of STS-107 HDTV launch footage and high-resolution frame captures of a sequence showing debris coming from the SRB exhaust plume, as part of their Columbia Investigation support. KSC has request DTV Project Office support in planning for integrating HDTV at several long-range tracking sites around the launch complex as a way to dramatically improve the quality of imagery when we return to flight.

6. FOAM ANOMALY TESTING - EDITING AND DIGITAL CONVERSION TO MPEGS (Bowerman/Hood): Digital video test support of four insulation foam tests, and conversion to MPEG video files and a total of four CDs were provided to ED31. Upon completion of the task, the client requested that the MPEG files be made larger and less rapid in the video. The original edited footage was slowed to 5 percent of the video speed. Large, 720x480, and medium, 320x240, MPEG files were created.

3. EXTERNAL TANK (ET) SPRAY ON FOAM INSULATION (SOFI) INSPECTION METHODS (Munafo/Thom/Walker/Suits/Russell/Hepburn/Beshears): Methods are being investigated for nondestructively inspecting ET SOFI. Defect standards were developed and some were fabricated for assessing shearography, radiography, and microwave techniques for a foam thickness up to 9 inches. MSFC fabricated test panels are being sent to collaborators at the University of Missouri-Rolla, Laser Technology Incorporated in New Jersey, and Kennedy Space Center to determine the applicability of inspection techniques.

3. EXTERNAL TANK (ET) PROJECT AND ET CONTINGENCY WORKING GROUP (Smelser): The ET Working Group continues to make progress in finalizing needed test activity to support the Columbia investigation. The process of reopening MAF is progressing well. Plant operations have resumed in all areas except in the Cell A and Final Assembly areas. As a result, some Lockheed Martin employees remain displaced. The first barrel utilizing Friction Stir Welding technology has been completed. The Project continues to support the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) at a significantly reduced level of activity. 10. STS-107 ELECTROMAGNECTIC EFFECTS (EME) ANALYSIS (J. Martin): The Space Shuttle Program (SSP) Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) team has been evaluating EME pre-launch, launch, ascent and descent data to date. The E3 team has found no evidence of corrupted data on Orbiter Vehicle systems performance due to EME. The team is scheduled to complete their review by 3/21/03.

12. SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM (SSP) NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS (J. Martin): The MSFC Environments Group has been supporting the Columbia investigation activities to provide SSP natural environments technical support. An Environments Technical Data Report is being generated that includes technical summaries and supporting appendices of information and data relative to pre-launch, launch, ascent, and on-orbit environments. For the STS-107 investigation, the report will include entry atmospheric data consolidated by MSFC, KSC, Space flight Meteorology Group, and Goddard Space Flight Center. The complete Environments Technical Data Report is planned for submission to JSC on 3/7/03.

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