Friday, February 05, 2010

Forecast improves for Sunday shuttle launch

Shuttle mission managers meeting this morning for a final review of Endeavour's readiness to launch early Sunday have a slightly improved weather forecast to look forward to.

Air Force meteorologists now expect an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions for the planned 4:39 a.m. liftoff on the final major International Space Station construction mission. That's up 10 percent from previous days.

You can read the official forecast here.

After the Mission Management Team meeting, a final pre-launch press conference is planned today no earlier than 11 a.m.

Participants include Mike Moses, shuttle launch integration manager; Mike Leinbach, shuttle launch director; Kathy Winters, shuttle weather officer; and Bernardo Patti, ISS program manager for the European Space Agency.

A space station science briefing follows at 1 p.m.

Click here to open a NASA TV video player and watch the news conferences live.

The launch countdown is currently in a planned nine-hour hold at T minus 19 hours, after workers overnight loaded the shuttle's fuel cells with cryogenic reactants.

After the count picks up at 3 p.m., final preparations will be made for launch pad 39A's rotating service tower to be opened for launch Saturday morning. Fueling is set to start around 7:15 p.m. Saturday.

A cold front moving through the area tonight with wind gusts and thunderstorms isn't expected to interrupt the countdown work.

The 13-day mission's six-person crew, led by commander George Zamka, is reviewing flight plans. Zamka and pilot Terry Virts will also get some flying practice.

The mission plans to deliver and install the Tranquility module and a seven-windowed cupola to the station, the last major additions to the outpost before it is completed.

IMAGE NOTE: At the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, STS-130 commander George Zamka, right, and pilot Terry Virts share congratulations after a successful practice session in a Shuttle Training Aircraft executing touch-and-go landings on Kennedy's runway in preparation for space shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 mission. The Shuttle Training Aircraft is a Gulfstream II jet, modified to handle like the space shuttle. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

No comments: