Wednesday, July 01, 2009

NASA Fuels Endeavour to Test Leak

The repaired GUCP this morning at 7:05 am EDT (NASA)

The Kennedy Space Center launch team began fueling the space shuttle Endeavour's external fuel tank this morning to test if engineers fixed a leaking gaseous hydrogen line which forced two launch scrubs in June.

The launch control team in firing room #4 began the normal chilldown of the fuel lines and the slow fill of liquid hydrogen into the rust colored huge fuel tank at 7AM EDT. They next will flow the liquid oxygen into the tank.

The external tank supports a launch pad based gaseous hydrogen vent arm which attaches to the tank via the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate. The GUCP is a valve with seals combination which keeps gaseous hydrogen from staying around the space shuttle and instead draws it away.

There are two inner tanks inside the external tank which the different cryogenic fuels flow. When Endeavour's engines ignite at launch, both fuels flow through pipes and mixed together to give the engine cluster fuel to burn. is providing LIVE TV coverage of the fueling, and will air LIVE the 1PM EDT KSC news conference today.

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