NASA – Space Shuttle Launch

 

 

Forecast Stands at 90 percent “Go”

 

An exhaust plume surrounds the mobile launcher...

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Thu, 24 Feb 2011 07:08:37 AM MST

Meteorologists expect fine weather this afternoon for the launch of space shuttle Discovery. The forecast calls for a 90 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time, 4:50 p.m. EST. The shuttle stands on Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida where the launch team is working methodically through the launch day checklists.

Fast fill of the external fuel tank began at 8:15 a.m. with the liquid oxygen and one minute later for the liquid hydrogen. The propellants are used by the shuttle’s three main engines during the launch into orbit. The fueling process is expected to be finished at about 10:25 a.m. From there, propellants will be trickled into the tank to replace the portion of the chemicals that evaporate during the countdown.

 

Space Shuttle Discovery sits atop a mobile lau...

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  • Forecast Stands at 90 percent “Go”

    Thu, 24 Feb 2011 07:08:37 AM MST

    Meteorologists expect fine weather this afternoon for the launch of space shuttle Discovery. The forecast calls for a 90 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time, 4:50 p.m. EST. The shuttle stands on Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida where the launch team is working methodically through the launch day checklists.

    Fast fill of the external fuel tank began at 8:15 a.m. with the liquid oxygen and one minute later for the liquid hydrogen. The propellants are used by the shuttle’s three main engines during the launch into orbit. The fueling process is expected to be finished at about 10:25 a.m. From there, propellants will be trickled into the tank to replace the portion of the chemicals that evaporate during the countdown.

     

    Space Shuttle Discovery in full launch configu...

    Image via Wikipedia

  • Space Shuttle Mission: STS-133

    Space shuttle Discovery on the launch pad. Image above: At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Discovery is seen shortly after the rotating service structure was rolled back at Launch Pad 39A. Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
    › Larger Image

    During space shuttle Discovery’s final spaceflight, the STS-133 crew members will take important spare parts to the International Space Station along with the Express Logistics Carrier-4.

    Steve Bowen replaced Tim Kopra as Mission Specialist 2 following a bicycle injury on Jan. 15 that prohibited Kopra from supporting the launch window. Bowen last flew on Atlantis in May 2010 as part of the STS-132 crew. Flying on the STS-133 mission will make Bowen the first astronaut ever to fly on consecutive missions.

    The rotating service structure, which provides weather protection and access to the shuttle, moves into place around space shuttle Discovery on Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
    CREDIT: NASA/Jack Pfaller

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The space shuttle Discovery stands ready for its planned liftoff in two days from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center here, on what will be the orbiter’s final journey to space.

    “Over the last two months, the team has been very busy,” NASA test director Steve Payne said in a news briefing today (Feb. 22). “Discovery is poised to lift off on Thursday afternoon, bound for the International Space Station, to do what she does best.”

    Discovery is scheduled to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center’s seaside Launch Pad 39A on Thursday (Feb. 24) at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT). [Gallery: Building the Space Shuttle Discovery]

    Late Sunday night, a minor leak was detected on a regulator in the shuttle’s reaction control system, Payne said, but the leak was within acceptable limits in a system with numerous backups in place. It is not expected to impact to the countdown or launch, he added.

    At the launch pad, technicians are loading liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into Discovery’s Power Reactant Storage and Distribution system today. This system holds the chemicals used by the shuttle’s three fuel cells to produce electricity in space. The oxygen is also used to pressurize the space shuttle’s crew cabin.

    Current weather forecasts are predicting an 80 percent chance of clear skies for Thursday’s launch.

    “Weather does look very favorable for the next few days coming up into launch,” shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters said. “Overall, really no significant weather expected up through launch day.”

    Meanwhile, the crewmembers of Discovery’s STS-133 mission are finishing up last-minute training exercises and reviewing launch day procedures.

    Commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe will practice landing approaches at the Shuttle Landing Facility in a modified Gulfstream II jet that simulates the space shuttle’s cockpit, motion and handling.

    Discovery’s 11-day mission to the International Space Station will be the orbiter’s 39th and final flight. It also marks NASA’s 133rd shuttle mission, which is one of the final three shuttle flights before the space agency brings its 30-year space shuttle program to a close later this year.

    You can follow SPACE.com Staff Writer Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow as she covers Discovery’s final space voyage from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

    Additional STS-133 Resources
    › STS-133 Press Kit (11.4 Mb PDF)
    › STS-133 Mission Summary (778 Kb PDF)
    › STS-133 Crew
    › Discovery facts (351 Kb PDF)
    › Countdown highlights
    › Launch Week Events
    › Discovery’s Career in Photos
    › Discovery Retrospective
    › All the Orbiter News

    STS-134 Mission Updates
    › Latest News

    STS-135 Mission Updates
    › Latest News

    Special Section: The Space Shuttle Era
    › The Space Shuttle Era
    › Space Shuttle Tribute Images

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