Sunday, February 07, 2010

After scrub, Endeavour plans early Monday launch

Endeavour and six astronauts plan to blast off at 4:14 a.m. Monday after low clouds prevented a liftoff early today.

Weather permitting, Kennedy Space Center crews will begin refueling Endeavour at 6:45 p.m. -- shortly after the kickoff of Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.

The most recent launch forecast predicted a 60-percent chance of favorable conditions Monday at KSC. Potential abort landing sites across the U.S. and in Europe must also be monitored.

Today's launch attempt started with an 80-percent chance of good weather. But conditions deteriorated as a deck of low clouds pushed in from the north, dropping the odds down to 30 percent "go."

As the countdown entered its final hour, the clouds scattered and filled in, thickened and thinned, wavering between "red" violations of launch rules and "green" status.

At 4:30 a.m. -- nine minutes before the targeted liftoff -- Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach called off the attempt. The clouds violated visibility rules for range safety officers.

"We tried really, really hard to work the weather," Leinbach radioed to shuttle commander George Zamka and his five crewmates in Endeavour. "It was just too dynamic. We got feeling good there at one point and then it filled back in. We just were not comfortable with launching a space shuttle tonight."

Replied Zamka: "We gave it a great try tonight, and sometimes you've just got to make the call. We understand, and we'll give it another try tomorrow night."

Apart from weather, no technical issues interrupted the countdown.

The shuttle scrub pushed back by one day, to Wednesday, the planned launch of a NASA satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Leinbach told reporters Friday that he wasn't concerned about any distraction from the Super Bowl.

"We talked as a team, as a program, what if we scrub Sunday for some reason?" he said. "We concluded we would go into a standard 24-hour scrub turnaround. We're not going to change our plan based on the Super Bowl, frankly, which is the right thing to do."

"There have been quite a few (Super Bowls), and there will probably be more," he added, "and if some members of my team miss this one, that's no big deal."

Stay tuned to the Flame Trench for launch updates throughout the day. You can sign up for text alerts here.

IMAGE: Top photo by Craig Bailey, Florida Today. Bottom from NASA TV.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Watch the Super Bowl, then work the launch...this will take creative engineering on my part !

Anonymous said...

Wow, you wouldn't have guessed that "We The People" don't want a manned space program by the size of the crowds for the launch.

Anonymous said...

Show the game live in the firing room. Is there a problem with that ?

Anonymous said...

launch rules for NASA fools, more on the absurbidy of the whole system. Can't fly if it rains, can't fly if the wind blows, can't fly if there are clouds, no lightning from here to Georgia. It's an eggshell, put it back in the crate where it belongs!

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Ha. To all the idiots that came to see this huge waste of money. Now go back home and take some extra friends with you.

Anonymous said...

ALL THE PEOPLE WHO COME TO WATCH THIS WASTE OF MONEY AND TIME...SHOWS YOU HUMANS ARE STILL BASICALLY DUMB..ANYTIME THERE IS SHINING LIGHTS OR EXPLOSIONS HUMANS ARE ATTRACTED TOO IT LIKE FLYS ON SH T...., LIKE A FAIR WITH RIDES,,OR FIRE WORKS....LMAO..LOL

Anonymous said...

The restraints are "lessons learned" by previous fatal errors of judgement. Remember that spetacular Challenr launch?

Anonymous said...

To the clowns who think the program has been a waste of money, remember that you would not have the computers you are using to trash the space program if it had never existed.

The crowds were large, as they always are. Unfortunately weather is beyond our control, in spite of what the followers of the Global Warming Fraud believe.