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Maneuvering engine attached to Discovery

Posted: July 16, 2010

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Workers installed the shuttle Discovery's right-side Orbital Maneuvering System pod Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center after replacing a faulty valve.

The 22-foot-long OMS pod was removed from the shuttle June 4 and taken to the Hypergolic Maintenance Facility, where technicians removed a troublesome helium isolation valve.

The component failed during preparations for Discovery's most recent flight, but NASA approved the shuttle's launch in April after analysis showed the valve issue was not serious.

The suspect valve was inside Discovery's Reaction Control System, a network of small maneuvering jets that keep the shuttle in the correct orientation in space. Each of Discovery's two OMS pods include a large orbit-changing engine, 12 primary maneuvering thrusters and two vernier jets.

NASA decided to remove and replace the valve before Discovery's next launch scheduled for Nov. 1, but that required engineers to remove the OMS pod from the shuttle.

Discovery's Nov. 1 launch will begin its final scheduled mission. Commander Steve Lindsey will lead a six-person crew on an 11-day flight to the International Space Station with a storage module, supplies and a spare parts platform.

Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky