Friday, January 15, 2010

Weather pushes Endeavour payload move to Monday

Kennedy Space Center workers now plan to deliver the Tranquility module to launch pad 39A early Monday, because of rain and thunderstorms that could bring high winds on Saturday.

The delay, following another day's delay due to unusually cold weather in recent weeks, will not impact plans to launch Endeavour at 4:39 a.m. Feb. 7, a spaceport spokesman said.

The 130th shuttle mission, and first this year, still has five days of contingency time built into its payload processing schedule.

The later delivery of the Italian-built module and attached cupola, which will offer a seven-windowed view of space from the International Space Station, also won't affect training plans for the mission's six-person crew.

Led by 47-year-old mission commander and Marine Col. George Zamka, the crew is scheduled to fly into KSC in T-38 jets around 6 p.m. Monday for standard pre-launch training called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT.

The training will culminate in a full countdown dress rehearsal Thursday morning, and the crew will depart Friday.

Shuttle program managers plan to begin a two-day review of the mission's status on Tuesday.

NASA is scrambling to redesign a set of ammonia coolant hoses that Endeavour spacewalkers will need to attach to Tranquility, after failures during recent pre-flight tests of the original models.

The new hoses are expected to be delivered to KSC less than a week before launch, and will be stowed in the shuttle's mid-deck.

IMAGE NOTE: In the Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center on Jan. 13, the payload transportation canister containing the International Space Station's Node 3, named Tranquility, is ready for its move to launch pad 39A. The primary payload for space shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 mission, Tranquility is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space station's life support systems. Attached to one end of Tranquility is a cupola, a unique work area with six windows on its sides and one on top. Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

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