Endeavour – STS-130 – Tranquility Ammonia Coolant Line Failures – Update

Endeavour Rollout

Special thanks to Larry Sullivan for these high resolution images of the Endeavor Rollout

Image Credit: NASASpaceflight.com photos by Larry Sullivan

As note previously in the Endeavour Rollout post, the Active Thermal Control System (ATCS) on the Tranquility node from the European Space Agency (ESA) has experienced a number of failures in the ammonia lines that threaten to derail the 7 February launch.

Yesterday, Chris Bergen at NASASpaceFlight.com reported on the ruptures and the three courses of action being worked to resolve the issue:

  • Launch Tranquility as scheduled without the ammonia lines. Attach Tranquility and activate it during a later mission later when certified lines are ready.
  • Delay the launch until the problem is resolved.
  • Fly the STS-131 19A mission before STS-130 20A mission

However, as previously noted, the relocation of mission racks causes serious problems for the third option. Chris Bergen notes that options 1 and 2 are being worked the hardest.

Later in the day, reports surfaced about the “tiger team” focusing on two solutions. The first is “A redesign of the original lines using double braid… A 7′ line with the double braid failed at a PSI > 5000 which is a good sign,” noted ISS Flight Director Robert Dempsey.

The second is what Mr. Dempsey referred to as “…the franken hose – they have pulled out a bunch of smaller hoses from KSC that have already past cert qual and welding them together. The 14′ hoses we need would be a welding of 3-5 pieces.”

Nobody is particularly interested in trying to swap STS-130 and STS-131 missions, as that would impact the flight schedule through the end of 2010 and likely into 2011, along with any added missions using the one existing External Tank not currently scheduled, along with two other possible tanks.

The most likely scenario at the moment is a delay of as much as two months in flying STS-130 in order to resolve the ammonia line issue.

27 January Update: Chris Bergen, at NASASpaceFlight reports that NASA’s Flight Readiness Review (FRR) has concluded that Endeavour will make its first launch attempt as scheduled on 7 February 2010. The FRR notes:

“The ISS team is making great progress on the ammonia hoses. Two different designs are being assembled/manufactured in parallel. The prime hoses (Titeflex hoses) have been welded and the inspections should be complete on 1/22 and crew fit checked on 1/23,” noted MOD’s 8th Floor (L2).

“The backup hoses (FMH) have been successfully proof tested and delivered to MSFC (Marshall Space Flight Center). No technical or schedule issues are anticipated.”

Lox/LH2 Lines

If you have ever wondered how they transfer Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen from the External Tank to the three rocket engines on the Endeavour, examine this close up by Larry Sullivan.

Image Credit: NASASpaceflight.com photos by Larry Sullivan

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One thought on “Endeavour – STS-130 – Tranquility Ammonia Coolant Line Failures – Update

  1. Pingback: Endeavour STS-130 Launch Watch « The National Space Society of Phoenix

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