The Final Inspection Team, also known as the Ice Team, gathers before heading out to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to inspect space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank during the loading of more than 535,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants. During today's tanking test, the team members will pay particular attention to the external tank's ribbed intertank region and report their findings to engineers located in the Launch Control Center. Beginning tomorrow, engineers will evaluate data on 21-foot-long, U-shaped aluminum brackets, called stringers, and the newly replaced ground umbilical carrier plate (GUCP).
Discovery's first launch attempt for STS-133 was scrubbed in early November due to a hydrogen gas leak at the GUCP. In order to perform additional analysis on the tank, Discovery will be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, a move that is planned for next week. 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/Cory Huston