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  STS-120: Countdown to Discovery's launch

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Author Topic:   STS-120: Countdown to Discovery's launch
Robert Pearlman

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

posted 10-17-2007 11:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Set To Begin Space Shuttle Discovery Countdown Oct. 20

NASA will start the launch countdown for space shuttle Discovery's STS-120 mission at 2 p.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 20, at T-43 hours. The countdown includes 26 hours and 38 minutes of built-in hold time leading to a preferred launch time of approximately 11:38 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23. The launch window extends an additional five minutes.

During the 14-day mission to the International Space Station, Discovery's crew will add the Node 2 module to the expanding station. Node 2, known as Harmony, will provide attachment points for European and Japanese laboratory modules to be installed later this year and early in 2008, respectively. The Discovery crew also will move the station's Port 6 segment of the station's backbone, or truss, and its solar arrays to a permanent position at the very end of the left side of the truss. The flight will include five spacewalks.

This mission is the 120th space shuttle flight, the 34th flight for Discovery and the 23rd U.S. flight to the International Space Station. This mission includes the most number of spacewalks ever conducted while the shuttle is docked to the station.

Robert Pearlman

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

posted 10-18-2007 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
STS-120 Launch Countdown Milestones and Times
(All times Eastern)

Launch-3 Days (Saturday, Oct. 20)

  • Prepare for the start of the STS-120 launch countdown
  • Perform the call to stations (1:30 p.m.)
  • Countdown begins at the T-43 hour mark (2 p.m.)
  • Begin final vehicle and facility closeouts for launch
  • Check out backup flight systems
  • Review flight software stored in mass memory units and display systems
  • Load backup flight system software into Discovery's general purpose computers
  • Mid-deck and flight-deck platform removal complete (10 p.m.)
Launch-2 Days (Sunday, Oct. 21)
  • Activate and test navigational systems (3 a.m.)
  • Complete preparations to load power reactant storage and distribution system (5 a.m.)
  • Flight deck preliminary inspections complete (6 a.m.)
Enter first built-in hold at T-27 hours for duration of 4 hours (6 a.m.)
  • Clear launch pad of all non-essential personnel
  • Perform test of the vehicle's pyrotechnic initiator controllers
Resume countdown (10 a.m.)

Enter 4-hour built-in hold at T-19 hours (6 p.m.)

  • Begin operations to load cryogenic reactants into Discovery's fuel cell storage tanks (6 p.m.)
  • Demate orbiter mid-body umbilical unit (6:30 p.m.)
  • Resume orbiter and ground support equipment closeouts
Resume countdown (10 p.m.)
  • Final preparations of the shuttle's three main engines for main propellant tanking (10 p.m.)
Launch-1 Day (Monday, Oct. 22)
  • Begin filling pad sound suppression system water tank (3 a.m.)
  • Close out the tail service masts on the mobile launcher platform
  • Begin star tracker functional checks (5:50 a.m.)
  • Pad sound suppression system water tank filling complete (6 a.m.)
Enter planned hold at T-11 hours for 13 hours, 13 minutes (6 a.m.)
  • Activate orbiter's inertial measurement units
  • Activate the orbiter's communications systems
  • Install film in numerous cameras on the launch pad (6:55 a.m.)
  • Flight crew equipment late stow (11:10 a.m.)
  • Move Rotating Service Structure to the park position (3 p.m.)
  • Perform ascent switch list
  • Fuel cell flow-through purge complete
Resume countdown at T-11 hours (7:13 p.m.)
  • Activate the orbiter's fuel cells (8:23 p.m.)
  • Clear the blast danger area of all non-essential personnel
  • Switch Discovery's purge air to gaseous nitrogen (8:58 p.m.)
Launch Day (Tuesday, Oct. 23)

Enter planned 2-hour built-in hold at the T-6 hour mark (12:13 a.m.)

  • Launch team verifies no violations of launch commit criteria prior to cryogenic loading of the external tank
  • Clear pad of all personnel
Resume countdown (2:13 a.m.)
  • Chill down propellant transfer lines (2:13 a.m.)
  • Begin loading the external fuel tank with about 500,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants (about 2:23 a.m.)
  • Complete filling the external tank with its flight load of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants (about 5:13 a.m.)
  • Final Inspection Team proceeds to launch pad
Enter planned 2-hour, 30 minute built-in hold at T-3 hours (5:13 a.m.)
  • Perform inertial measurement unit preflight calibration
  • Align Merritt Island Launch Area tracking antennas
  • Perform open loop test with Eastern Range
Resume countdown at T-3 hours (7:43 a.m.)
  • Crew departs Operations and Checkout Building for the pad (7:48 a.m.)
  • Complete closeout preparations in the White Room
  • Check cockpit switch configurations
  • Flight crew begins entry into the orbiter (about 8:18 a.m.)
  • Astronauts perform air-to-ground voice checks with Launch and Mission Control
  • Begin to close Discovery's crew hatch (9:23 a.m.)
  • Begin Eastern Range final network open loop command checks
  • Perform hatch seal and cabin leak checks
  • Complete White Room closeout
  • Closeout crew moves to fallback area
  • Primary ascent guidance data is transferred to the backup flight system
Enter planned 10-minute hold at T-20 minutes (10:23 a.m.)
  • NASA test director conducts final launch team briefings
  • Complete inertial measurement unit preflight alignments
Resume countdown at T-20 minutes (10:33 a.m.)
  • 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
Enter estimated 45-minute hold at T-9 minutes (10:44 a.m.)
  • Launch director, Mission Management Team and NASA test director conduct final polls for "go/no go" to launch
Resume countdown at T-9 minutes (about 11:29 a.m.)
  • Start automatic ground launch sequencer (T-9 minutes)
  • Retract orbiter crew access arm (T-7:30)
  • Start mission recorders (T-6:15)
  • Start Auxiliary Power Units (T-5)
  • Arm solid rocket booster and external tank range safety safe and arm devices (T-5)
  • Start liquid oxygen drainback (T-4:55)
  • Start orbiter aerosurface profile test (T-3:55)
  • Start main engine gimbal profile test (T-3:30)
  • Pressurize liquid oxygen tank (T-2:55)
  • Begin retraction of the gaseous oxygen vent arm (T-2:55)
  • Fuel cells to internal reactants (T-2:35)
  • Pressurize liquid hydrogen tank (T-1:57)
  • Deactivate bi-pod heaters (T-1:52)
  • Deactivate solid rocket booster joint heaters (T-0:50)
  • Orbiter transfers from ground to internal power (T-0:50 seconds)
  • Ground Launch Sequencer go for auto sequence start (T-0:31 seconds)
  • Booster gimbal profile (T-0:21 seconds)
  • Ignition of three space shuttle main engines (T-6.6 seconds)
  • Booster ignition and liftoff (T-0)
Summary of STS-120 Launch Day Crew Activities
1:30 a.m. --- Crew wakes up
7:08 a.m. --- Weather briefing
7:18 a.m. --- Don flight suits
7:48 a.m. --- Depart for launch pad
8:18 a.m. --- Arrive at White Room and begin ingress
9:33 a.m. --- Close crew hatch
11:38 a.m. --- Launch

Robert Pearlman

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

posted 10-19-2007 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
Space Shuttle Crew Arrives in Florida

The Shuttle Training Aircraft carrying the STS-120 astronauts touched down on Friday at the Shuttle Landing Facility runway at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"There's something special about showing up in Florida," said Commander Pam Melroy. "There's a time when you need to talk, and the Flight Readiness Review was a time to talk. Then there's a time when you need to go do it. And I'm happy to say we're really here, and ready to go do it."

Melroy said she and her crew are "totally confident" that Discovery's reinforced carbon-carbon heat shield is capable of protecting them on the ride home.

The crew's arrival follows the detailed flight readiness review on Tuesday, after which NASA senior managers announced Oct. 23 as the official launch date. Discovery is scheduled to lift off at 11:38 a.m. EDT on its mission to the International Space Station.

The 14-day mission includes five spacewalks – four by shuttle crew members and one by the station’s Expedition 16 crew. Discovery is expected to complete its mission and return home at 4:47 a.m. EST on Nov. 6.

Looking ahead to launch-day weather, there is a 40% probability that weather could prohibit liftoff.

New Member


posted 10-20-2007 10:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for michaelSN99   Click Here to Email michaelSN99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...finally thats the long awaited milestone-mission for the expansion of the space station and its international modules.

hope all will going well during this very complex and complicated mission...

michael may
ISS information page + chronology of manned space flight

Robert Pearlman

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

posted 10-20-2007 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update: Countdown Begins for STS-120
An extensive staff of controllers, technicians and engineers reported for duty at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Saturday as the countdown began at 2 p.m. EDT for the launch of STS-120. Liftoff is scheduled for 11:38 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

NASA managers overseeing the launch preparations for STS-120 said space shuttle Discovery is ready for two weeks in space.

"All of our systems are in good shape," NASA Test Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said.

Weather officer Kathy Winters pointed to some concerns that rain showers and clouds could interfere with Discovery's launch. She said there is a 60 percent chance of favorable weather at launch time.

Robert Pearlman

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

posted 10-23-2007 01:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
  • Move Rotating Service Structure to the park position (3 p.m.)
  • All times are CT (US)

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