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  STS-115 Launch Delay

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Author Topic:   STS-115 Launch Delay
Tom
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posted 08-26-2006 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Launch has been delayed at least 24 hours in order to check equipment from lightning strike on Friday.

contra
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posted 08-27-2006 06:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for contra   Click Here to Email contra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Atlantis won't launch until at least Tuesday. (Florida Today)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2006 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA just made the earlier report official.

Mission managers have determined that shuttle Atlantis will not launch before Tuesday due to the additional time needed to complete inspections of any possible damage caused by the lightning strike on Friday. No damage has been discovered thus far but more time is needed to finish analyzing the data collected.

A press briefing will be held at 2:00pm EDT.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2006 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Complicating matters, of course, is Hurricane Ernesto. The current track could result in NASA deciding to rollback Atlantis to the VAB:

If a rollback is decided, its not clear if STS-115 could launch before the window closes.

A decision to rollback could come as early as this afternoon.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2006 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA is expected to make a decision whether to launch or rollback shuttle Atlantis by midnight (EDT) tonight.

According to NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA is in the midst of competing objectives: preparing to launch STS-115 and preparing to rollback Atlantis in the situation that Hurricane Ernesto continues on its projected track.

Per Gerstenmaier, "this is the most awesome training scenario" as it is forcing all of NASA's orbiter teams to work together. For example, to determine if the lightning strike on Friday caused damage to the SRBs, the booster team is having to work with the orbiter team to learn if Atlantis' powered-on systems were able to record data valuable to their investigations.

Likewise, Michoud has needed to look at ET shipment preparation in the case that Ernesto disrupts normal shipping lanes. They needed to consider where to move the ET barge and where to dock the SRB retrieval ships so that both were accessible, if need be.

As a result, there are conflicting activities underway at KSC right now. A crawler is being put through its cycles to insure NASA has use of both transporters in the case that a rollback is needed. A pair of SRBs stacked on a MLP sitting in the VAB's high bay 3 will be moved soon to make way for Atlantis, if necessary.

At the same time, Atlantis is not being off-loaded of its cryos, to keep open the option to launch on Tuesday.

An Mission Management Team (MMT) meeting is planned for 6:00p.m. EDT with a press briefing scheduled for NET 8:00 p.m.

divemaster
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posted 08-27-2006 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
and the weather was perfect for a launch today [sigh]

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2006 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two crawlers out for a drive... one looked to be heading back to the VAB to move the SRB stack, the other appears to be on its way to the pad...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2006 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA will wait until 7am EDT Monday morning before deciding whether to push ahead with launching Atlantis on Tuesday or rolling back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to protect the space shuttle from Hurricane Ernesto.

With all earlier technical concerns cleared, the decision to launch will rely on the path of Ernesto and whether its current track changes "significantly" overnight.

If the decision is made to rollback, NASA will begin off-loading the fuel cell cryos at 7am. The process to prepare Atlantis to move from the pad to the VAB will take approximately 36 hours, during which time NASA could make the decision to stay at the pad and ride out the storm.

By midday Tuesday however, if the storm's path has not altered, the crawler will transport the shuttle the 4.2 miles from 39B, arriving inside at or around midnight.

If Atlantis is rolled back, it will be difficult for NASA to make the launch window, which closes on Sept. 7. In addition to lighting constraints, the window is limited by the Russian's plan to launch Soyuz with Expedition 14 on September 14. Flight rules dictate that the shuttle and Soyuz cannot be at the station at the same time.

The Soyuz launch date is constrained by the date and time when it would return with the Expedition 13 crew. If they launch after Sept. 14, the landing would occur in the dark of early morning (20 minutes earlier each day) making recovery operations more difficult.

NASA will begin discussions with their Russian counterparts later tonight (or morning in Russia) about the options available should a rollback be necessary.

If STS-115 cannot be launched during the current window, the next opportunity will be in late October, though its limited to only a couple of days due to lighting constraints.

spaceman48263
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posted 08-27-2006 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman48263   Click Here to Email spaceman48263     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I say "light that candle" Let her fly before the storm hits the cape! Wanted a Sunday non-workday launch but now I'll just have to look at the updates on the computer at work. Because of "porn filters" I can not watch NASA TV at work!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2006 08:21 PM     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 spaceman48263:
I say "light that candle" Let her fly before the storm hits the cape!
NASA cannot launch on Monday, regardless the weather. They need 24 hours to prepare the vehicle.

The problem with pushing ahead on Tuesday with the storm still on its current track is that in the case of a scrub, there would not be enough time to move Atlantis back into the VAB, where it would be safe from possible tropical storm-speed winds.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2006 05:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is not the "significant" change we were hoping for...

contra
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posted 08-28-2006 06:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for contra   Click Here to Email contra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now
"NASA officials this morning ordered rollback preparations to begin at launch pad 39B. The predicted track of Ernesto continues to shift ever closer to Kennedy Space Center"

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2006 06:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA statement:
quote:
NASA mission managers this morning decided to scrub Tuesday's scheduled launch attempt of space shuttle Atlantis.

Preliminary preparations are also underway to roll the orbiter back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, although no final decision has been made. The decision is expected by midday tomorrow.

A news briefing is now scheduled for 10 a.m. EDT.


KSCartist
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posted 08-28-2006 06:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert-

The best we can hope for is another jog to the right that puts yours truly and KSC on the western (and more gentle)side of the storm.
Don't you just hate it when uninvited guests crash your party?

BTW saw you on NASA Select after Bill G's afternoon conference.

Tim

James Brown
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posted 08-28-2006 07:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Got home from KSC last night. A few photos have been posted. Not much really, but thought I'd share. It was good seeing Ben, Robert, and others.

James

PS. If your volume is turned up, you may want to turn it down before looking at the photos (music).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2006 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA is preparing Atlantis to rollback from Pad 39B, beginning as early as 8:00 a.m. EDT. Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, the agency continues to track Ernesto's projected path and will continually evaluate if Atlantis can safely ride out the storm on the pad.

If the shuttle can remain where it is now, the earliest STS-115 might launch is "late this weekend".

If Atlantis rolls back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, it is unlikely that NASA can make the end of the Sept. 7 window dictated by the Russian's Soyuz launch schedule.

If there is a rollback, it will take 8 days from the point the shuttle arrives back on the pad to launch.

The STS-115 crew may need to evacuate to Houston, if hurricane precautions call for their T-38s to be removed from the area. In the meantime, they are using the extra time to run additional simulations on laptop computers, fly the shuttle training aircraft and spend time with their families.

The current path of Ernesto has the storm shifted eastward:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2006 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rollback preparations continue with the repositioning of the STS-116 half-stacked SRB to make way for Atlantis in the VAB:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2006 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
KSC has finished the cryo off-load, depressed the helium tanks, and is beginning ordinance disconnects. The plan is to decide whether to rollback at 5:00 a.m. EDT Tuesday. First motion is expected at 9:00 a.m. EDT if a decision is made to roll back to the VAB.

This timeline is earlier than previously discussed because the STS-115 stack must now go to VAB high-bay 2. There was an issue with one of the crawlers today and the STS-116 stack (pictured above) was moved back to VAB high bay 3 after a brief excursion outside.

The path to high bay 2 takes an additional four hours although the plan is to use 1.0 mph versus the normal 0.8 mph crawler speed if needed to make up about 2 hours of time.

The lightning predictions for tomorrow afternoon are also a concern. The crawler must stop motion if lighting occurs during rollback. The team would then need to abandon the vehicle and move 1000 feet away per safety rules.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2006 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA is currently deciding whether to rollback Atlantis or to remain at Pad 39B as Tropical Storm Ernesto advances closer to Florida.

Mission managers are receiving a weather briefing after which they are expected to announce their decision. If they decide to roll, first motion is currently scheduled to begin at 9:39 a.m. EDT.

NASA's decision repotedly hinges between the shuttle being caught between the pad and VAB during a mid- to late-afternoon lightning storm or being caught on the pad when strong winds start tossing about debris.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2006 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA has made the decision to rollback Atlantis to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Lunar_module_5
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posted 08-29-2006 09:58 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Atlantis is on her way back to the VAB!

KSCartist
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posted 08-29-2006 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I haven't heard the answer to this so I'm asking you all.

I understand a launch after Sept 7th would cause the Soyuz to return in the dark. I understand the relunctance to do that with S&R tasks being privatized.

What would happen if they delayed the Soyuz crew transfer until after that shuttle did it's job? Thereby giving NASA until the middle of the month to launch Atlantis. Is it because of the battery life on the Soyuz?

Tim

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2006 01:16 PM     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 KSCartist:
Is it because of the battery life on the Soyuz?
Batteries and fuel. The Soyuz at ISS is reaching its 200-day limit.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2006 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Shuttle Atlantis is heading back to the Pad 39B.

A reevaluation of Tropical Storm Ernesto's path and strength has caused NASA managers to reverse direction of the crawler transporter and return Atlantis to the launch pad, where it will wait out the storm.

The journey back will take approximately 5 hours.

NASA does not yet know when they will try next to launch STS-115.

mjanovec
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posted 08-29-2006 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read earlier that if the Shuttle was sent back to the VAB and then returned to the pad, it would take at least 8 days before a launch could be attempted. Will it still take 8 days to get the Shuttle ready if they get it returned after such a short time off of the pad? It would seem to me that once the Shuttle is off the pad, it will take the same amount of time to get it ready again...whether it spent a week in the VAB or 10 hours on the between the pad and the VAB. But I might be wrong...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2006 02:15 PM     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 mjanovec:
It would seem to me that once the Shuttle is off the pad, it will take the same amount of time to get it ready again...whether it spent a week in the VAB or 10 hours on the between the pad and the VAB. But I might be wrong...
That would certainly be logical, but NASA doesn't always follow logic. If it truly does take eight days -- and discounting tomorrow for the storm -- it would mean a first attempt on Sept. 7, which is the last day of the window.

It may be possible that NASA can compress the preparation and shed a few days from the schedule, but that is yet to be seen.

contra
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posted 08-29-2006 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for contra   Click Here to Email contra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Atlantis heads back to the pad !!!!!!!!!!!!

Lunar_module_5
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posted 08-29-2006 02:59 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From NASA Human Spaceflight....

"NASA Mission Managers have decided to return Atlantis to Launch Pad 39B today. The space shuttle is expected it to be back in place by about 8 p.m. EDT. The decision came as Tropical Storm Ernesto was predicted to skirt further west than first expected, allowing a sufficient decrease in winds to permit the shuttle to ride out the storm at the pad. Launch Director Mike Leinbach and the team made the determination at 2:40 p.m. EDT. Atlantis had begun its trek to the Vehicle Assembly Building, atop the crawler-transporter, at 10:04 a.m. this morning"


I know the shuttle programme has had it's ups and downs....but it's back and forths is really too much to handle!! lol

Lunar_module_5
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posted 08-29-2006 03:03 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just thinking some more on this and with my tongue firmly in my cheek...

Does this amount to the first ever RTLS? (After nearly getting back to the VAB)

Mike Isbell
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posted 08-29-2006 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Isbell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is the first time that I remember a rollback to the VAB begining and then being reversed !

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2006 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rollback reversed: Shuttle returns to pad
quote:
After deciding this morning to roll space shuttle Atlantis back from the launch pad to its assembly building as a result of an on-coming tropical storm, NASA reversed direction, literally, sending the spacecraft back to the pad.
(Photos from this morning's initial rollback of Atlantis from the launch pad is included with this article.)

mjanovec
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posted 08-29-2006 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lunar_module_5:
I know the shuttle programme has had it's ups and downs....but it's back and forths is really too much to handle!! lol

And, of course, when the Shuttle is operating as it was designed to do, it just goes in circles. Big circles around the Earth, that is.

Cliff Lentz
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posted 08-30-2006 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was watching one of the many press conferences the last few days. NBC Correspondent Jay Barberie asked if halfway through the rollback would it be possible, if conditions changed, to turn back to the pad. The idea was laughed off by the panel to the point that someone said they would buy Barberie dinner if that would happen. I'm curious if the concept never entered their thinking since it never happened before. I also wonder if Barberie will collect.

Tom
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posted 08-30-2006 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cliff:
I saw that too.
I thought for sure he would be at the news briefing covering the roll-back to the pad...I didn't see him at that briefing.

mjanovec
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posted 08-30-2006 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
Cliff:
I saw that too.
I thought for sure he would be at the news briefing covering the roll-back to the pad...I didn't see him at that briefing.


Maybe he was eating his free dinner.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-30-2006 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Jay, like many other reporters, had left by the time the second, unexpected reverse rollout briefing was convened. Most had departed after rollback began, which is why the first briefing was held via telecon.

Leinbach's promised dinner, by the way, was for more than just Jay but for NASA's shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters, too:
"If that scenario played out, I'd buy you dinner, I'd buy Kathy dinner," Leinbach said. "That's so extraordinarily rare, that's way out there."

Source: Space.com

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-30-2006 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA will attempt to launch STS-115 over three days next week, September 6 through 8, the space agency has said.

Extra Launch Day Available for Shuttle Atlantis, NASA Says (Space.com)

Shuttle launch window extended to Sept. 8 (CBS/Spaceflight Now)

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