A tool was developed to repair or replace AN fittings on the shuttle external tank (ET). (The AN thread is a type of fitting used to connect flexible hoses and rigid metal tubing that carry fluid. It is a U.S. military-derived specification agreed upon by the Army and Navy, hence AN.) The tool is used on a drill and is guided by a pilot shaft that follows the inside bore. The cutting edge of the tool is a standard-size replaceable insert. In the typical Post Launch Main ten - ance/Repair process for the AN fittings, the six fittings are removed from the ET’s GUCP (ground umbilical carrier plate) for reconditioning. The fittings are inspected for damage to the sealing surface per standard operations maintenance instructions. When damage is found on the sealing surface, the condition is documented.
A new AN reconditioning tool is set up to cut and remove the surface damage. It is then inspected to verify the fitting still meets drawing requirements. The tool features a cone-shaped interior at 36.5°, and may be adjusted at a precise angle with go-no-go gauges to insure that the cutting edge could be adjusted as it wore down. One tool, one setting block, and one go-no-go gauge were fabricated. At the time of this reporting, the tool has reconditioned/returned to spec 36 AN fittings with 100-percent success of no leakage.
This tool provides a quick solution to repair a leaky AN fitting. The tool could easily be modified with different-sized pilot shafts to different-sized fittings.
This work was done by Jason Lopez of Kennedy Space Center. KSC-13235