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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
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Shuttle launch news by canaveralgumby on 13 July 2009 3:32pm
I have failed utterly in my duties as Space news correspondent to Palin's Travels. I humbly apologize.

For the past 2 days, lightning strikes near the cape have delayed the launch of Shuttle Endeavour, but they will try again this evening.

space.com updates the launch info continuously:

Here is the mission overview for STS-127:
Re: Shuttle launch news by mrsteabag on 13 July 2009 4:28pm
Beat thyself up not, Ms. Cori. You provided two facinating links for our consideration, and I thank you for them.
Re: Shuttle launch news by bIG bLOGGER on 13 July 2009 4:34pm
Cori,no apologies necessary.
I watched that movie last night called ARMAGEDDON starring Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck where they save planet Earth from being wiped out by a large asteroid. I'd like to know,from which site did they take off in their space shuttle and on which site did they land on their return?
Re: Shuttle launch news by perfectbitch on 13 July 2009 5:26pm
There were some amazing images of a lightning strike on the launch pad in todays Telegraph but I couldn't find the image online.

Re: Shuttle launch news by Ken Dunn on 13 July 2009 8:11pm
The countdown clock on the NASA website is at about 15 minutes and increasing so I think that means the mission is underway. The only anomaly is that the launch was scheduled for 6.51pm EDT and it is about 8.15pm in the UK. Has it launched?
I saw the lightning strike photo on the NASA website yesterday but it is not there today. It hit the tip of the tower above the shuttle.
Had another look at the countdown clock and found another one which says there are about 2hours 40minutes to go to launch. That makes more sense.
Re: Shuttle launch news by canaveralgumby on 13 July 2009 11:38pm
Okay! It is about 6:30 pm in Cape Canaveral. That makes it about 11:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time. We're supposed to have launch between 6:51 pm and 6:56, that's it, that's the window they have in order to get the trajectory of flight correct.

RIGHT NOW, 20 mins. to launch time, it aint lookin' good. Too much electicity. A rapidly rising Space Shuttle in the air with nothing else around it is one big lightning rod.

Okay, now at 6:35, Mission Control is conducting the "poll" and so far 3 directors, no, now 4, have said "no go."


Okay, at 6:40 pm, about 10 mins. before launch time, they've scrubbed for today.

It's really unfortunate that they can't take off in the mornings - it's been stunningly gorgeous and no storm systems in the mornings!
Re: Shuttle launch news by canaveralgumby on 13 July 2009 11:50pm
Ken brings up a good point, something I should explain - I take it for granted that everyone knows this. Sometimes the countdown clock doesn't gel with the time of launch when you look at it!

There are "built-in holds" during the countdown. Here is the description of the countdown and holds from 3 hours and counting:

T-3 hours and holding
This built-in hold typically lasts two hours.

* Perform inertial measurement unit preflight calibration
* Align Merritt Island Launch Area (MILA) tracking antennas
* Final Inspection Team proceeds to the launch pad to conduct a detailed analysis of the vehicle as the team walks up and down the entire launch tower
* Closeout Crew proceeds to the launch pad to configure the crew module for countdown and launch and assist the astronauts with entry into the orbiter

T-3 hours and counting

* Crew departs for the launch pad and, upon arriving at the pad, begins entry into the orbiter via the White Room
* Complete close-out preparations in the launch pad's White Room
* Check cockpit switch configurations
* Astronauts perform air-to-ground voice checks with Launch Control (Kennedy Space Center) and Mission Control (Johnson Space Center)
* Close the orbiter's crew hatch and check for leaks
* Complete White Room close-out
* Close-out crew retreats to fallback area

The gaseous oxygen vent arm and orbiter access arm
T-20 minutes and holding
This built-in hold typically lasts 10 minutes.

* Shuttle Test Director conducts final launch team briefings
* Complete inertial measurement unit preflight alignments

T-20 minutes and counting

* Transition the orbiter's onboard computers to launch configuration
* Start fuel cell thermal conditioning
* Close orbiter cabin vent valves
* Transition backup flight system to launch configuration

T-9 minutes and holding
This is the final built-in hold, and varies in length depending on the mission.

* The Launch Director, Mission Management Team and Shuttle Test Director poll their teams for a go/no go for launch

T-9 minutes and counting

* Start automatic ground launch sequencer
* Retract orbiter access arm (T-7 minutes, 30 seconds)
* Start auxiliary power units (T-5 minutes, 0 seconds)
* Arm solid rocket booster range safety safe and arm devices (T-5 minutes, 0 seconds)
* Start orbiter aerosurface profile test, followed by main engine gimbal profile test (T-3 minutes, 55 seconds)
* Retract gaseous oxygen vent arm, or "beanie cap"
(T-2 minutes, 55 seconds)
* Crew members close and lock their visors
(T-2 minutes, 0 seconds)
* Orbiter transfers from ground to internal power
(T-50 seconds)
* Ground launch sequencer is go for auto sequence start (T-31 seconds)
* Activate launch pad sound suppression system
(T-16 seconds)
* Activate main engine hydrogen burnoff system
(T-10 seconds)
* Main engine start (T-6.6 seconds)


* Solid rocket booster ignition and liftoff!
Re: Shuttle launch news by Ken Dunn on 14 July 2009 7:36pm
Very informative, canaveralgumby. Thanks.
I see they are going to try again tomorrow at 6.03pm EDT.
Re: Shuttle launch news by bIG bLOGGER on 16 July 2009 4:20pm
Cori,I am amazed by your detailed technical NASA knowledge. They should have had on staff you as an advisor long ago,then maybe the problems with Challenger,Columbia and Apollo 13 could have been resolved satisfactorily.
Re: Shuttle launch news by tucsonmike on 16 July 2009 8:13pm
Thanks for all that, Cori. Waiting for us to go to Mars.
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