NASA: Checks of Endeavour's engine pods not needed
Posted: October 5, 2001

An Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engine firing causes this bright glow at the aft end of the shuttle. Photo: NASA
NASA said Friday it wasn't necessary to inspect shuttle Endeavour's orbital maneuvering engine pods after deformed bolt holes had been found on Columbia. The decision keeps Endeavour's November space station mission on schedule.

Engineers found elongated bolt holes on connection joints that hold the engine pods onto sistership Columbia, prompting officials to consider the time-consuming job of checking Endeavour and other shuttles for similar defects.

"Testing and analysis confirmed that the strength of the OMS pod attach point will not be compromised by irregular bolt holes, even if the deformation is greater than that seen on orbiter Columbia," NASA said in a statement.

Endeavour is scheduled to liftoff at 7:35 p.m. EST November 29 carrying the fourth crew to live and work aboard the international space station, replacing the three-man team currently residing on Alpha.

The space shuttle's orbital maneuvering system engine pods are used for major orbit-changing firings and to slow the shuttle before the re-entry during the deorbit burn. The twin pods mounted to the aft end of the orbiter contain fuel tanks, maneuvering thrusters, and one large engine each. The units are attached to the shuttle using 12 connection joints, with each of those including the 14 suspect bolt holes.