Image Scans of Discovery’s External Tank Almost Complete


Wed, 29 Dec 2010 04:54:31 PM GMT

Technicians in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida are making such good progress with X-ray type image scans of space shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank that they expect to finish the job today, a day ahead of schedule.

The team has been using a refined method of gathering the computed radiography scans of all 108 support beams, called stringers, on the outside of the external tank’s intertank section. The method has provided overlapping images, which has lowered the need to have scans retaken.

Engineers at other NASA locations are analyzing the new image scans, which began Sunday. The new data, along with previous testing and analysis, will help engineers and managers determine what caused small cracks on the tops of two stringers during Discovery’s launch countdown on Nov. 5.

Space Shuttle Program managers still are scheduled to decide Thursday afternoon whether testing and analysis indicate modifications are needed on some of the stringers. If required, modifications would begin next Monday (Jan. 3).

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15419 2 SYHO10df 1036B

It was something like a cliffhanger. When five-time Line Honours winner Wild Oats XI sailed into Hobart early last night at he finish of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, controversy shrouded her as she slipped into Hobart’s Constitution Dock. A protest lodged against the boat by the event Race Committee, prior to the finish, left the outcome uncertain. But this afternoon, after the International Jury met to hear the facts, the protest was dismissed and Wild Oats XI was announced as the official Line Honours winner.

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AeroVironment Receives $46.2 Million Order for Raven Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Digital Retrofit Kits


MONROVIA, Calif., December 28, 2010 — AeroVironment, Inc.(AV) (NASDAQ:AVAV) announced today that it received an order valued at $46,226,984 under an existing contract with the U.S. Army. The order comprises 123 new digital Raven®small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and initial spares packages as well as 186 digital retrofit kits for the U.S. Marine Corps. The order also includes 339 digital retrofit kits for the U.S. Army. The Raven system and retrofit order represents the remainder of the funds appropriated for RQ-11B Raven system procurement in the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which was signed into law in December 2009.

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