LOCKHEED MARTIN DELIVERS NEXT FLIGHT TANK TO NASA
NEW ORLEANS, LA., 24-FEB-06 -- Lockheed Martin Space Systems – Michoud Operations today delivered External Tank-119, the tank that is scheduled to propel the next Space Shuttle mission into orbit, to NASA.
Freedom Star, the Solid Rocket Booster Retrieval ship, will tow ET-119 via ocean-going barge on a five-day, 900-mile trip across the Gulf of Mexico and around the tip of Florida to arrive at Kennedy Space Center next week. Delivery of ET-119 will support NASA’s schedule for a possible shuttle launch in May of this year.
The most significant change to ET-119 is the removal of the Protuberance Airloads (PAL) ramps. NASA made the decision in December to fly future shuttle missions without the ramps that were originally installed early in the shuttle program to address a possible concern with cross air flow under the cable trays.
ET-119 was returned to New Orleans from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 3, 2005, just five weeks after Hurricane Katrina left the area devastated by 150 mph winds and a 20-foot storm surge. Despite the fact that the storm flooded adjacent neighborhoods, destroyed local power and transportation infrastructure, and left almost one-half of the Michoud Operations workforce with homes that were unlivable, virtually all of the 2,067 employees returned to work within two months in order to complete modifications to ET-119.
A photo of ET-119’s rollout is available at http://www.lockheedmartin.com/michoudgallery