NASA successfully tested the new fuel tank design of space shuttle Discovery, giving NASA more confidence that this new mission will succeed after the Columbia disaster in February 2003.
The test, which took place on the day new NASA Administrator Michael Griffin took up his post, was intended to check equipment and procedures used to pump supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into the tank and to inspect for potentially hazardous ice forming on the outside of the tank.
The test lasted for six hours, first technicians pumped 141,750 gallons of liquid oxygen and 384,071 gallons of liquid hydrogen into the fuel tank. Then they inspected the tank for possible ice buildups.
Neil Otte, chief engineer of the External Tank Project office, said that from their standpoint the tank performed exactly as they expected it to do.
Discovery is planned to launch between May 15 and June3.
More info about the test of Discovery's fuel tank at Reuters