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  Go for launch on July 4!

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Author Topic:   Go for launch on July 4!
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-03-2006 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA will proceed with its plans to launch space shuttle Discovery on Tuesday, having concluded that the loss of foam from a fuel line bracket earlier today will not pose a threat to the vehicle or crew.

Mission managers met on Monday evening to review the issue and found that the missing 3-inch piece of external tank did not create a risk for increased ice formation that could impact the orbiter during launch or for heating of the underlying metal during ascent. Further inspections using a mounted boroscope camera revealed that the remaining foam on the bracket was left undamaged.

All that remains now between Discovery and an Independence Day launch is the 40% chance that the weather will not be acceptable.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited July 03, 2006).]

Rob Joyner
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Posts: 1292
From: GA, USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 07-03-2006 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert,
Any word if another launch will be attempted on the 5th if weather forces a third scrub tomorrow?
Rob

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-03-2006 08:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The current plan is to try on Wednesday and, if necessary, Thursday and then NASA would stand down to refresh all the cryogenics (in both the external tank and orbiter's fuel cells), which would take 3-4 days at minimum.

spaceuk
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Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 07-04-2006 03:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm surprised that NASA has given the go-ahead for launch knowing that this foam is 'missing' after all the bally-hoo that surrounds the foam issue. They've just spent 12 months or so investigating this foam issue and now seem to 'dismiss' it within a couple of hours. Surely, a more cautious approach would have been merited by rolling Discovery back to VAB and do a more detailed inspection and carryout a repair ? Another few days inspection seems more reasonable to me and they could probably still meet a 19 July window deadline?

Though they say that ice-forming on ET will not affect this bracket site, I wonder what will happen when shuttle passes through max Q or when atmospheric pressure "pushes" on this area during the ascent ?

Also, how easy is 'access' to this damaged area at the pad ? Have they not got kit that would allow them to 'repair' in situ this damaged area? Skycrane? Cherry picker like vehicle? Own or rental ?

I get the impression that NASA wants to launch this vehicle 'come what may' just so they can squeeze in all the flights to meet the 2010 deadline ? And that concerns me.

Of course, I - like many other people - want to see them fly the shuttle ,complete the ISS and go on again to the Moon and then Mars and beyond. And, yes, there is some pressure from foreign nations having access to space .

But,space is always going to be there . Its not going to go away. Its a hostile environment and anyone venturing out there needs as much protection as possible. If you spot a problem and have the ability to repair it before you fly - DO SO !

SO, I would urge NASA to take their time, do the job RIGHT , first time , and don't fudge the decisions. They are hard decisions and may not always be popular - either with supporters (like me) or with politicians or whoever. But, safe human occupied space vehicles operating in the hostile space environment have to be as safe to fly as we humans can make them. It may take a few hours,or a few days or even a few years to get them as 'right' as we can make them but however long it takes , space will still be there and waiting for us to explore its wonders. Space is not going to go 'away' but failing space programs will .

Phill
spaceuk

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-04-2006 04:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaceuk:
SO, I would urge NASA to take their time, do the job RIGHT , first time , and don't fudge the decisions.
Phill, I think you are making an awfully large assumption that just because they were able to reach consensus on the foam that they aren't also doing the "job right". The MMT clearly set forth three concerns to which the engineers answered all three (including devising a long-pole mounted boroscope camera). The aerothermal heating and ice forming conditions are fairly well understood; the major concern was additional damage to the area which was clearly not the case based on the boroscope photos.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-04-2006 04:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Incidentally, the weather forecast for today has greatly improved. We are now expecting an 80% chance of acceptable conditions at launch time...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-04-2006 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What would be an Independence Day without a July 4th picnic?

In addition to their usual breakfast, the STS-121 crew was treated today to a special holiday lunch before departing for the launch pad...

  • Commander Steve Lindsey - Cheeseburger and watermelon
  • Pilot Mark Kelly - Cheeseburger, watermelon and corn on the cob
  • Mission Specialist Mike Fossum - Cheeseburger and watermelon
  • Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak - Salmon, broccoli, watermelon and spinach salad
  • Mission Specialist Stephanie Wilson - BBQ Chicken, salad and watermelon
  • Mission Specialist Piers Sellers - Salmon w/ rice and salad
  • Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter - Salmon, salad and plain toasted English muffin

East-Frisian
Member

Posts: 398
From: Germany
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 07-04-2006 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
  • Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter - Salmon, salad and plain toasted English muffin
  • Usually it is said, the Germans eat everytime and everywhere "Kraut and Würstchen" and close their meal with a beer.

    The East-Frisian

    [This message has been edited by collectSPACE Admin (edited July 04, 2006).]

    lunarrv15
    Member

    Posts: 1295
    From: Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton
    Registered: Mar 2001

    posted 07-04-2006 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    A good day for a launch....I feel it

    OV-105
    Member

    Posts: 589
    From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
    Registered: Sep 2000

    posted 07-04-2006 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    I belive it is the time of day to be religous and give the Shepard's prayer. Please loard don't let me screw up! We must also add fix your little problems and light this candle! Godspeed Discovery and STS-121!

    michaelSN99
    New Member

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    posted 07-04-2006 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for michaelSN99   Click Here to Email michaelSN99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    i believe it will become a great day for us germans ;-)

    bycicle racer matthias kessler won the today´s tour de france stage
    next thomas reiter will enter the orbit with discovery
    and finally we will win the semifinal of the soccer world cup ;-))))

    go discovery !!!

    ------------------
    michael may
    ISS information page + chronology of manned space flight

    East-Frisian
    Member

    Posts: 398
    From: Germany
    Registered: Apr 2005

    posted 07-04-2006 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by michaelSN99:
    i believe it will become a great day for us germans ;-)

    bycicle racer matthias kessler won the today´s tour de france stage
    next thomas reiter will enter the orbit with discovery
    and finally we will win the semifinal of the soccer world cup ;-))))

    go discovery !!!


    But it could also be:
    Kessler was doped
    Launch of Discovery is delayed
    Germany looses as usual in World Championship games against Italy.
    I hope really, that you are right.!!!!!!!!

    So too, go Discovery !!

    mjanovec
    Member

    Posts: 3593
    From: Midwest, USA
    Registered: Jul 2005

    posted 07-04-2006 01:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    When I see mention of pre-launch meals, I cannot help but think of Mike Mullane's book where he mentions that nobody ate anything...other than perhaps a couple of bites.

    All times are CT (US)

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