Technicians outfit space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank with approximately 89 strain gauges, thermocouples and wiring in preparation for a tanking test no earlier than Dec. 17 on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the test, engineers will monitor what happens to 21-foot long, U-shaped aluminum brackets, called stringers, located at the external tank's intertank area, as well as the newly replaced ground umbilical carrier plate (GUCP), during the loading of cryogenic propellants.
Discovery's first launch attempt for STS-133 was scrubbed in early November due to a hydrogen gas leak at GUCP. The next launch opportunity 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/Jim Grossmann