Monday, December 07, 2009

Endeavour, astros preparing for February mission

Kennedy Space Center workers are preparing Endeavour for an early February flight while the mission's astronauts practice a spacewalk in Houston.

Mission specialists Robert Behnken and Nicholas Patrick are shown at left working in the world's largest swimming pool, Johnson Space Center's Neutral Buoyancy Lab.

They're practicing the first of three spacewalks planned during a 13-day mission that will deliver the final major U.S. module, called Tranquility, to the International Space Station.

The module will feature a seven-windowed cupola that will serve as a robotics work station and provide stunning views of space.

Meanwhile, KSC workers are preparing the orbiter Endeavour for a Saturday morning move from a processing hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building, where it will be joined with an external tank and solid rocket boosters.

Inside Orbiter Processing Facility-2 today -- the 37th anniversary of the last Apollo moon mission's launch -- the crew cabin hatch on the left side of the orbiter will be closed for the move, and tires are being pressurized to flight level.

The stacked shuttle is tentatively scheduled to roll out to launch pad 39A on Jan. 6.

The 130th shuttle mission, dubbed STS-130, is officially targeted for launch Feb. 4, but managers have said they are considering a slightly later date, possibly Feb. 6.

George Zamka is the mission's commander. In addition to Behnken and Patrick, he's joined by pilot Terry Virts and mission specialists Stephen Robinson and Kathryn Hire.

Zamka and Hire, a former shuttle engineer at KSC, both earned graduate degrees from Florida Tech in Melbourne. Virts has one from Daytona Beach-based Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Their mission is one of five remaining shuttle flights, including two flown by Endeavour.


Anonymous said...

and Virts from Embry-Riddle

James Dean said...

Thanks -- added above.

Anonymous said...

Note: It's George Zamka James.

James Dean said...

Sorry! No idea where "Greg" came from...