Preparations are under way in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to examine space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank. Technicians will begin to remove thermal sensors that will give engineers data about the changes the tank went through during the loading and draining of super-cold propellants. Engineers also will examine 21-foot-long support beams, called stringers, on the outside of the tank's intertank region. Also on the agenda, is to re-apply foam to the outside of the tank.
Discovery's next launch opportunity to the International Space Station on the STS-133 mission is no earlier than Feb. 3, 2011. For more information on STS-133, visit www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts133/. Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis