Evvai con l’ennesmia inchiesta…
Katherine Trinidad Headquarters, Washington March 17, 2006 (202) 358-3749
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
NASA APPOINTS BOARD TO INVESTIGATE SHUTTLE ARM INCIDENT
NASA has formed a board at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to
investigate the March 4 incident that damaged Space Shuttle
Discovery’s remote manipulator system (shuttle arm).
Hugo Delgado is chairman of the five-member investigation board. He is
deputy director for the Office of the Chief Engineer at Kennedy. The
board is supported by one ex-officio member, four advisors and
Board functions include investigating the facts surrounding the
incident, determining its probable cause, assessing the possibility
of a recurrence and recommending corrective actions. A final report
is expected this summer.
On March 4 at about 10:10 p.m. EST, shuttle technicians inside a
bridge bucket work platform device accidentally bumped into
Discovery’s robotic arm. The arm is a 50-foot-long, jointed extension
used to grapple payloads, remove them from the payload bay and move
spacewalking astronauts to various work platforms.
Inspections showed two indentations in the arm’s outer bumper layer, a
Kevlar-covered plastic, honeycombed structure designed to protect the
arm from minor impacts. One of the indentations in the honeycombed
layer is oval shaped, 0.115 inch deep and 1 inch in diameter.
The second indentation, also oval shaped, is 0.035 inch deep and 0.5
inch in diameter. Ultrasound inspections were performed once the
Kevlar and honeycombed layer were removed.
Under the largest indentation was a small crack in the carbon-fiber
composite, measuring 1.25 inches long and 0.015 inches deep. The arm
was removed from the vehicle on Tuesday and will be sent back to the
vendor for repair.
The shuttle is in Kennedy’s Orbiter Processing Facility bay 3. It is
undergoing preparations for the STS-121 mission to the International
Space Station. The launch is targeted for no earlier than July 1.
For more information about the Space Shuttle Program and the STS-121
mission on the Web, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: