Saturday, May 14, 2011

NASA Set To Unveil Endeavour At Pad 39A

NASA is aiming to unveil Endeavour at its Kennedy Space Center launch pad today as engineers and six astronauts gear up for the planned launch early Monday of the shuttle's 25th and final flight -- one of only two remaining prior to fleet retirement.

The Rotating Service Structure at launch pad 39A -- a 100-foot-tall gantry that provides workers access and the shuttle weather protection -- is scheduled to be backed away from Endeavour around noon -- weather permitting.

There's a chance that thunderstorms could hold up the move. NASA cannot roll back the structure if there is a 20 percent chance that lightning might zap within five nautical miles of the launch pad during the operation, which typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

NASA can hold up the retraction of the RSS for several hours, if need be, and still begin external fuel tank propellant-loading operations on time.

Engineers are scheduled to start flowing more than 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the shuttle's 15-story external tank at 11:36 p.m. Sunday. The propellant-loading operation is expected to take three hours to complete.

Launch remains scheduled for 8:56 a.m. Monday.

No comments: