Smooth-sailing work to replace three suspect turbopumps aboard the shuttle Discovery should be wrapped up by the end of next week, keeping the orbiter on track for a delayed blastoff next month, officials say.
"Although we don't have an actual date right now, a firm date, I feel pretty good about the early to middle part of March," launch director Robert Sieck said. "I think the pump situation is behind us."Sieck told the Cape Canaveral Press Club Monday night that it will take "about a week to 10 days" to get all three high-pressure liquid oxygen turbopumps, each one about the size of a beer keg, installed and checked out in Discovery's cramped engine compartment.
"Near the end of next week, we'll have that behind us and we'll go into what I call the standard part of the integrated processing at the launch pad," he said. "That's usually about a two week process and all that equals a launch opportunity in mid March."