Space Center Facility Loses Electric Supply Briefly
Undated (AP) _ CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - The space agency lost power to one of its facilities for about 45 minutes today during the countdown for space shuttle Discovery.
The problem caused no hitch in the count, and shuttle operations director Tom Utsman said, ″We were in a safe posture the entire time.″
Four hours before the launch, a gaseous nitrogen facility lost electricity, forcing the agency to use backup compressors and to ration the available nitrogen.
The gaseous nitrogen facility is a few miles from the launch pad. The nitrogen is pumped to the pad to cleanse engine cavities as a means of eliminating oxygen that could cause a fire if hydrogen gas leaked from the fuel supply.
Utsman said the Kennedy Space Center receives power from two Florida Power & Light Co. sources. Each provides 115,000 volts.
″We lost one leg of our power distribution system during the night, and that knocked out the power to the gaseous nitrogen plant,″ Utsman said. ″We got the power back up there, and we were running smoothly in about 45 minutes.″
The reason for the power outage has not been determined, Utsman said.