Lockheed Martin Delivers Next-to-Last Space Shuttle Flight Tank to NASA
NEW ORLEANS, LA, 05/03/2010 --
External Tank-137 is scheduled to depart the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility at 8 p.m. CDT today bound for Kennedy Space Center.
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) completed the build of ET-137 for NASA on April 30 and rolled the tank into the enclosed barge, Pegasus, on May 1. However, high winds in the New Orleans area delayed earlier plans to depart Michoud.
The voyage to Kennedy Space Center is 900 miles and will take approximately six days. Two tugs will escort Pegasus and ET-137 due east in the Intracoastal Canal to the Port of Gulfport where Solid Rocket Booster retrieval ship Freedom Star is waiting to tow the tank across the Gulf of Mexico, around Key West and up the eastern side of Florida to Kennedy Space Center. Freedom Star is expected to arrive at KSC on May 9.
Lockheed Martin has built 133 flight tanks for the Space Shuttle program, which is scheduled to end later this year after 29 years. ET-137 is the next-to-last flight tank that will be delivered to KSC. Its targeted launch date is September 16 when the tank will help propel shuttle Discovery to orbit on its flight to the International Space Station – the STS-133 mission.
Lockheed Martin is also building ET-138, which is scheduled to be finished next month and will launch with shuttle Endeavour no earlier than mid-November on the STS-134 mission. In addition, the company is constructing ET-122, a spare launch-on-need tank that was damaged in Hurricane Katrina, but is not scheduled to fly.
High-res and low-res photos of ET-137's rollout to the barge can be viewed at http://www.lockheedmartin.com/ssc/michoud/MichoudImages/ET137.html
Too large to travel by rail or interstate highway, the External Tank stands 15 stories tall (154 feet) and is almost 28 feet in diameter. ET-137 will weigh close to 1.7 million pounds when loaded with 535,000 gallons of propellant prior to launch.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.