On Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians remove a few items from space shuttle Discovery's middeck payload, including food, prior to a tanking test planned for no earlier than Dec. 15. During the test, engineers will monitor what happens to the external fuel tank's newly replaced ground umbilical carrier plate (GUCP) and the intertank's stringers, which are 21-foot long, U-shaped aluminum brackets located on the intertank, during loading of cryogenic propellants. Technicians already installed environmental enclosures on the tank, removed foam and prepared the tank's skin for approximately 89 strain gauges and thermocouples.
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/Ben Smegelsky