Thursday, February 04, 2010

NASA Counts Down To Early Sunday Shuttle Launch

NASA is counting down to the planned launch early Sunday of Endeavour and it appears the weather will be good for the last scheduled nighttime launch prior to shuttle fleet retirement later this year.

Mission commander George Zamka and his crew are scheduled to blast off at 4:39 a.m. Sunday, the middle of a 10-minute opportunity to put the shuttle on course for a rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station.

NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding said all launch preparations are moving along on schedule and that engineers are not working any potential show-stoppers.

"Everything thus far is going exceedingly well," he said. "We're right on schedule where we're supposed to be, and we'll continue to work through the day on our preparations."

The weather is expected to be chilly and breezy, but meteorologists say there is a 70 percent chance conditions will be acceptable for launch. The only concern is for ground winds at the launch pad.

"The weather is looking promising for launch," said Kathy Winters, shuttle weather officer with the Air Force's 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron, which provides forecasting services for all launches from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Check out the details in this Official Launch Forecast.

A three-day countdown to launch picked up at 2 a.m. Here's what NASA is working on today:
Final vehicle and facility closeouts are in work and engineers are checking out backup flight systems. The shuttle's avionics systems are to be configured for launch and engineers plan to review flight software stored in shuttle mass memory units and display systems.

Back-up flight systems software in Endeavour's five general purpose computers also will be checked out. The spaceship's navigation systems are slated to be activated and tested around and engineers around will complete preparations for the loading of cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into Endeavour's fuel cell system.

The system combines the chemical reactants to generate electricity to power all spaceship systems. Potable water is generated as a byproduct.

The launch pad will be cleared of all non-essential personnel this evening in advance of the fuel cell loading operations, which are scheduled to begin about 10 p.m.

The launch pad will reopen around 5:30 a.m. Friday.

The Rotating Service Structure is to be moved away from Endeavour at 8 a.m. Saturday.

External tank fuel-loading operations are slated to begin at 7:14 p.m. Saturday.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

todd you mentioned in the questions article yesterday that CCAFS was getting the 2 billion dollars to upgrade the infrastrucure and launch complexes and a few days ago you said KSC was getting the 2 Bil. some people think they are 1 in the same. What will happen to complex 39 a and b ? I work KSC Fire rescue and we are 2 different Departments now. I was on your return to spaceflight interview after Columbia. Does KSC lose it s launch capability cede it to CCAFS.

Dave, Derek, Joe and Mick said...

Hey Florida space people, four of us are travelling all the way from the UK just to see your amazing machine fly into the sky. Here's keeping our fingers crossed for a great, safe and on time launch.