Technicians working at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California are moving carefully through a regimen to ready the shuttle for its cross-country ferry flight atop a modified 747 back to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That trip could begin as soon as Friday morning, although weather and other technical issues could push that date back.
Among turnaround tasks already completed by Monday morning, United Space Alliance technicians finished shuttle main engine drying operations, offloaded cryogenics, removed the external tank separation camera and inerted the Power Reactant Storage and Distribution system battery tank. Purging of the Orbital Maneuvering System fluid lines and valves and other tasks requiring access to the aft end of the shuttle are in process Monday.
Processing managers hope to begin the all-day process of purging and offloading of residual fuels and oxidizers and other hazardous chemicals early Tuesday morning.