NASA has replaced a leaky hydraulic seal in space shuttle Discovery's landing gear, and if testing continues to go well, next month's launch will remain on track, officials said Friday.
Even though only one seal in the right main landing gear strut was leaking hydraulic fluid last week, all four of the rubber seals were replaced Wednesday, said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel.
Engineers still do not know why the seal was leaking at an exceedingly high rate of about one drop every 20 seconds, Beutel said. The allowable limit is one drop of hydraulic fluid every hour.
The wheels and brakes had to be removed and reassembled for the repair. On Saturday, the wheels will be lowered to the ground, and NASA will watch for any excessive leaking once the strut — which serves as a shock absorber at touchdown — is bearing weight.
The repair took less time than expected, Beutel said. As a result, Discovery is still set to lift off Oct. 23 on a mission to deliver a new module to the international space station. NASA will have just one day or so, however, to deal with any additional problems and remain on schedule.