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  STS-122: Atlantis rolls toward launch

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Author Topic:   STS-122: Atlantis rolls toward launch
Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-03-2007 02:18 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 rolled into the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building this morning, after moving from the Orbiter Processing Facility (bay 1).

Rollover began at 6:05 a.m. CDT and ended at 7:03 a.m.

In the VAB, Atlantis will be lifted and mated with the external tank and solid rocket boosters designated for STS-122, already secured atop a mobile launcher platform.

On this mission, Atlantis will deliver the Columbus module to the International Space Station.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-05-2007 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On November 4, in high bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building, orbiter Atlantis was lifted above and then lowered onto the mobile launcher platform to be mated with the external tank and solid rocket boosters already secured there for STS-122.

robsouth
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posted 11-05-2007 11:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fantastic photos, makes you kinda sad that these are the last few flights now the decision has been made to retire the shuttle fleet.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-06-2007 08:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
quote:
NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis To Move To Launch Pad Saturday

Space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to roll out to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 10, as preparations for the STS-122 mission move forward. Atlantis is targeted to lift off Dec. 6 on an 11-day mission to the International Space Station.

The first motion of the shuttle out of Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building is scheduled for 4 a.m. EST. The 3.4-mile journey to the launch pad is expected to take about six hours.

NASA Television will provide a live picture of Atlantis at the launch pad beginning at 6:30 a.m. Video highlights of the rollout will air on NASA TV's Video File segments.


NavySpaceFan
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posted 11-10-2007 06:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis To Move To Launch Pad Saturday
Now underway and live on NASA TV.

ejectr
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posted 11-10-2007 07:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why are they spraying water on the stone track in front of the crawler before it travels over it? To keep the dust down?

NavySpaceFan
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posted 11-10-2007 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's what I'm thinking.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-10-2007 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, as was noted during the STS-120 rollout, "The water dampens the rocks on the crawlerway, reducing the amount of dust churned up by the passage of the shuttle."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-10-2007 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First motion out of the Vehicle Assembly Building was at 3:43 a.m. CST.

Lunar rock nut
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posted 11-10-2007 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The water dampens the rocks on the crawlerway, reducing the amount of dust churned up by the passage of the shuttle.
Florida gravel is about as bad as a red dirt road in Oklahoma. It is like anorthosite. When handled it leaves residue on your hands.

Terry

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-10-2007 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Except they aren't driving (crawling) on Florida gravel; the crawlerway is topped with Alabama and Tennessee river rock. The water is to suppress the dust created when the crawler crushes the river rocks into powder.

NavySpaceFan
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posted 11-10-2007 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like she's in position.

Lunar rock nut
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posted 11-10-2007 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Except they aren't driving (crawling) on Florida gravel; the crawlerway is topped with Alabama and Tennessee river rock.
Thanks for the clarification on river rock. I was recalling pre-teen and teenage experiences from Melborne and several summers in the Florida Keys during my youth. As you can imagine at those ages I threw a massive amount of rocks into water during those years.

Terry

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-10-2007 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Atlantis was hard down on the pad at 10:51 a.m. CST.

Jay Chladek
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posted 11-11-2007 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This external tank looks a lot more uniform in color then the last one. It appears that the acreage foam and the hand applied foam was done at close to the same time compared to the last few tanks that rolled out (especially STS-120's tank with its bright orange intertank relative to the much darker acreage foam on the LOX and LHX tanks). Very interesting.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-16-2007 11:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

From inside the payload changeout room on Launch Pad 39A, the Columbus Laboratory module was moved into space shuttle Atlantis' payload bay on Nov. 11.

The changeout room is the enclosed, environmentally controlled portion of the rotating service structure that supports cargo delivery to the pad and subsequent vertical installation into the orbiter payload bay.

The lab module, built by the European Space Agency (ESA) is approximately 23 feet long and 15 feet wide, allowing it to hold 10 large racks of experiments.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-16-2007 11:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Received from someone@nasa.gov, the following was e-mailed by ISS Expedition 16 Flight Director Holly Ridings on behalf of STS-122 Lead Space Station Flight Director Sally Davis:
quote:
With the extra work our crew has done on orbit and a tremendous amount of effort by the team on the ground, I am proud to tell you we have a nominal plan for a 1E [STS-122] launch on 12/6.

This was accomplished without any major reduction in content; simply smart and proactive management of the activities by the entire E16 team and the incredible efficiency of our crew.


Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-17-2007 10:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

The crew of STS-122 is at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for their full launch dress rehearsal, known as the terminal countdown demonstration test (TCDT).

Atlantis' seven astronauts arrived at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility in their Gulfstream shuttle training aircraft on Saturday at 7:49 p.m. CST.

The TCDT provides astronauts and ground crews with an opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency training.

blacklion1
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posted 11-27-2007 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for blacklion1   Click Here to Email blacklion1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Atlantis' seven astronauts arrived at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility in their Gulfstream shuttle training aircraft on Saturday at 7:49 p.m. CST.
Please forgive me if I've missed the answer to this question, but can anyone tell me why the crew of STS-122 arrived at KSC for the TCDT on the NASA Gulfstream jet instead of the traditional T-38's? I also note that the crew left KSC by the same manner.

GACspaceguy
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posted 11-27-2007 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Please forgive me if I've missed the answer to this question, but can anyone tell me why the crew of STS-122 arrived at KSC for the TCDT on the NASA Gulfstream jet instead of the traditional T-38's?
The answer is simple. If you are going to fly, there is no better way to fly than on a Gulfstream :-)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-27-2007 10:38 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 GACspaceguy:
If you are going to fly, there is no better way to fly than on a Gulfstream
While that may be true, it appears that the choice of aircraft was budget-driven, and it's a sign of things to come...

Delta7
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posted 11-27-2007 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
While that may be true, it appears that the choice of aircraft was budget-driven, and it's a sign of things to come...
"The Shuttle Crew's arrival in Florida was delayed because they were late departing Houston Hobby, and missed their Atlanta Hartsfield connection. Their luggage wound up in Salt Lake City." "We're glad to be here in Orlando finally, and now we're going to get a bite to eat at Quizno's before we catch a cab to the Cape." said the mission commander upon arrival at Orlando International.

FordPrefect
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posted 11-27-2007 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FordPrefect     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It might be worth mentioning that the planned launch date of STS-122 is the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 17 launch!

Ben
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posted 11-27-2007 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, Apollo 17 launched just after midnight on Dec. 7 EST. This launch will be on the 6th and that is both in EST and GMT.

One more day and it will be.

FordPrefect
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posted 11-27-2007 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FordPrefect     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
D'oh yes, you're right. I wanted to write it is the 35th anniversary of the planned Apollo 17 launch (Eastern)

Jay Chladek
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posted 11-28-2007 01:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Astronauts qualified to fly T-38s from the front seat are pilot astronauts and military mission specialists that are pilots in their normal military assignments. As such, they fly from the front seat in order to help keep their flight hours up.

Everyone else (civilian astronauts and military astronauts who aren't pilots even if they are flight crew members, such as navigators or flight engineers) flies in the back seats. This is regardless of any previous flight time they might have had. One example was Tom Jones, who flew T-38s in the US Air Force and was a B-52 pilot before he left the air force to join the CIA. But regardless of his jet time from his military service, since he was a civilian astronaut, he could only fly the NASA T-38s from the rear seat.

So to fly a crew of seven to Florida, one needs four T-38s with four pilots qualified to fly the jets from the front seat and the remaining three astronauts riding in the rear seats. These days with the shuttle crews being more international and civilian in nature (except for the CDR and PLT who are military), one doesn't often get that anymore. So the Gulfstream tends to be the mode of transportation used instead of the T-38s.

Update: I've been informed that the main reason for the Gulfstream is indeed budget cuts. But even if it was not, I do have to wonder how getting a crew to KSC would have been handled in T-38s if four front seat qualified astronauts weren't on the crew.

I can't recall the last time T-38s were used for flights to KSC. I recall them doing it on STS-98 though as it made for a nice photo op with John Glenn in the back seat of the commander's bird.

blacklion1
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posted 12-04-2007 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blacklion1   Click Here to Email blacklion1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
Update: I've been informed that the main reason for the Gulfstream is indeed budget cuts. But even if it was not, I do have to wonder how getting a crew to KSC would have been handled in T-38s if four front seat qualified astronauts weren't on the crew.
Thanks for the response. But I'm sure there have been other missions where non spaceflight crew members have ferried flight crew members to the Cape or back to JSC in the T-38. I just thought that NASA put a premium on allowing the CDR and PLT to get as much stick time as possible.

Edited by blacklion1 on December 04, 2007 at 02:44 PM.

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