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  STS-133: Viewing, questions, and comments (Page 4)

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Author Topic:   STS-133: Viewing, questions, and comments
SpaceAngel
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posted 11-18-2010 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Discovery's launch is now no earlier than 2:52 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 3 - more details here.
I had a feeling that a launch on November 30th would not be feasible...

issman1
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posted 11-19-2010 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So does that mean four consecutive launch attempts for Discovery? It also appears Wheelock, Walker and Yurchikin won't be asked to remain aboard ISS (in fact they'll be landing sooner rather than later).

I also understand a possible window for STS-133 may open in mid-December. Presumably that's in daylight, but how long would that be? Surely it'll also impact the arrival of Kondratyev, Nespoli and Coleman?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-19-2010 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If Dec. 3 is approved for the first launch attempt, then NASA will have until Dec. 6 to get Discovery off the ground.

Teams are off looking at a possible late December window opening on or around Dec. 17, which would still be a night launch (around 9 p.m. EST). Launching then would require removing about 600 pounds of payload from Discovery.

Soyuz TMA-20 is set to dock at the ISS on Dec. 17, so it would not be impacted by a launch by Discovery on the same or later days.

issman1
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posted 11-19-2010 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I presume the 600lb reduction would be low-priority items? Still, it's good that all options are being considered to fly Discovery before year's end. A night launch, but daylight landing then?

teopze
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posted 11-23-2010 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for teopze   Click Here to Email teopze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any news how certain the Dec. 3 date is? Also, what is the last possible launch opportunity in the early-Dec. window (including all possible extensions)? thanks

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-24-2010 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Schedules News Conference About Next Space Shuttle Launch

NASA managers will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. CST today from the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston to provide the status of the next space shuttle mission, STS-133, and the progress of repairs since Discovery's launch was delayed Nov. 5.

The news conference will follow today's Space Shuttle Program Requirements Control Board. Program officials reviewed repairs and engineering evaluations associated with cracks on two 21-foot-long, U-shaped aluminum brackets called stringers on the shuttle's external tank.

The briefing participants are:

  • Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations
  • John Shannon, Space Shuttle Program manager
The conference will air live on NASA TV and the agency's website.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-24-2010 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 launch is now no earlier than Dec. 17. Read more here...

Fezman92
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posted 11-24-2010 02:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I have read, most of the issues are about the ET. Now was this the same ET that was damaged from Katrina?

GACspaceguy
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posted 11-24-2010 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, that tank from Katrina will be used on STS-134.

AJ
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posted 11-24-2010 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Earlier this week my family booked a trip to Florida in December... returning home on the 18th. To say that we're now hoping and praying for a Dec. 17 launch is a bit of an understatement.

issman1
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posted 11-25-2010 03:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Evidently this is a fatal flaw. Swapping the external tank with STS-134's or the will-it-or-won't-it-happen STS-135's seems the obvious thing to do.

GACspaceguy
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posted 11-25-2010 04:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The issue is that without knowing root cause all remaining tanks are suspect.

Jay Chladek
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posted 11-27-2010 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Evidently this is a fatal flaw. Swapping the external tank with STS-134's or the will-it-or-won't-it-happen STS-135's seems the obvious thing to do.

And what part of an engineering background ever gave you that conclusion?

Based on past situations, NASA will likely fly this ET, but they want to understand what happened first and take into account all the variables first before deciding to fly it. That is how they work. There is nothing about cracked stringers that says "fatal" flaw, at least from what I've heard or seen.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-03-2010 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 launch is now no earlier than Feb. 3, 2011 at 1:34 a.m. EST (0634 GMT). The delay also reschedules Endeavour's STS-134 launch to no earlier than Apr. 1 at 3:15 a.m. EDT (0715 GMT). Read more here...

chappy
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posted 12-03-2010 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chappy   Click Here to Email chappy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does this mean that there will be no meeting up between the Kelly brothers after all?

Fezman92
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posted 12-03-2010 01:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Expedition 26 ends in March a month before STS-134, so no, unless there is another change.

tegwilym
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posted 12-03-2010 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So does this mean that NASA will be selling more tickets again before this next try?

capoetc
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posted 12-03-2010 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I recall correctly, tickets already sold will still be honored.

GACspaceguy
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posted 12-03-2010 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tegwilym:
So does this mean that NASA will be selling more tickets again before this next try?
Just so that we all understand, NASA does not sell tickets. That is left up to Delaware North the company that has the contract for the tours at KSC. Also, Delaware North sets the policy on ticket sales not NASA.

issman1
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posted 12-03-2010 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
And what part of an engineering background ever gave you that conclusion?
Well, NASA has delayed the mission into 2011. So they're not sure Discovery would reach orbit on December 17 without suffering major damage to its TPS.

Perhaps the shuttle programme really is showing its age?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-03-2010 06:19 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 issman1:
So they're not sure Discovery would reach orbit on December 17 without suffering major damage to its TPS.
That is not the reason NASA provided for delaying the launch further.

At this point, the concern is less about foam shedding from Discovery's external tank than it is about not understanding the root cause behind the cracked stringers.

As repaired, NASA considers Discovery's external tank to be in flight-ready condition but without knowing what caused the original crack, they are taking the time to conduct further tests and analysis to better their understanding of what led them to having to do repairs.

onesmallstep
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posted 12-03-2010 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Taken Nov. 1 by the GeoEye-1 satellite, this is how the shuttle looks on Pad 39A from 425 miles up. Pretty impressive!

Now we only have to wait patiently until February of next year to see a rocket plume and an empty pad again...

issman1
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posted 12-04-2010 03:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
That is not the reason NASA provided for delaying the launch further.
In that case, I'm not sure why NASA delayed the launch for months to study a minor problem that affects just two missions (STS-133 and 134).

Either the ETs are safe to fly or aren't. They repaired the cracked foam and stringers which, if left as it was, violated safety criteria. Slightly confusing for us laypersons.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-04-2010 06:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They delayed because they have encountered a problem they do not understand and since the external tank is not recovered post-flight, the only way to gain that understanding is by testing before launching.

Yes, in the end, they may discover that an isolated incident resulted in these cracks -- in fact, at this time they have no reason to suspect that the problem is generic -- but they do not fly based on suspicions or assumptions.

As the program officials have said a few times, they are not driven by the manifest schedule but by the engineering. They expected to resolve this problem quickly as they expected an obvious cause of the cracks. They didn't find one. So they are taking the additional time needed to do the testing and improve their understanding.

Rob Joyner
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posted 12-04-2010 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tegwilym:
So does this mean that NASA will be selling more tickets again before this next try?

I was told by the KSCVC ticket office that the LTTs for STS-133 would only go on sale again if there was a scrub after the KSC busses had already run to the causeway, and then only at the ticket plaza where they would most likely sell out. I don't know, but I would think if they didn't sell out at the plaza, KSC would then make them available on their site, but I'd call to make sure.

Fezman92
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posted 12-04-2010 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is this the longest a shuttle mission has been delayed, apart from the groundings after Challenger and Columbia? This means STS-134 has been delayed for just about an entire year now.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-04-2010 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
STS-125 was originally set for launch in May 2008 and after multiple delays, including a swap in the manifest order and rollback to the Vehicle Assembly Building, ultimately flew in May 2009.

Delta7
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posted 12-04-2010 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe STS-107 was significantly delayed from it's original launch date.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-04-2010 07:06 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 chappy:
Does this mean that there will be no meeting up between the Kelly brothers after all?
From Mark Kelly, via Twitter...
Our launch date changed. Now 1 April 2011. Unfortunately no visit with my brother Scott in space. Nature of the spaceflight business.

issman1
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posted 12-05-2010 01:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They could have met if NASA did what it originally planned by flying STS-134 ahead of 133.

There was a cheeky question asked by one reporter at the press briefing that if the problem is that vexing, perhaps the shuttle programme should end now.

moorouge
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posted 12-05-2010 03:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Silly question. Why haven't they rolled the stack back to the VAB? And what are the likely effects such a long time on the pad going to be?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-05-2010 08:44 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 issman1:
They could have met if NASA did what it originally planned by flying STS-134 ahead of 133.
Not necessarily; it was the change in flight order that originally resulted in the two brothers' mission dates overlapping. Further, the manifest change also swapped the external tank (and solid rocket boosters) for STS-133 and STS-134, so instead of Discovery, Endeavour would now be facing delays as a result of the hydrogen leak and cracked stringers.

As the Kellys are the first to say, it was happenstance that brought the possibility of their meeting in space and it was -- and now is -- happenstance that has removed that possibility.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-05-2010 09:51 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 moorouge:
Why haven't they rolled the stack back to the VAB?
They are conducting a tanking test on the pad -- currently set for later this week -- where they will first instrument the tank with strain and temperature gauges, as well as train cameras to measure movement, and then load liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as they would on launch day.

After exposing the tank to the same cryogenic conditions as what led to the Nov. 5 scrub, engineers and technicians will inspect the vehicle for further cracks, as well as verify that their work to replace the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate halted the gaseous hydrogen leak.

If after collecting and analyzing the data from that test the program determines it still needs to inspect the side of the external tank facing away from the orbiter, then the shuttle could still be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building. But at this time, they have no pressing reason to do so.

The shuttle can and has safely remained on the pad for several months.

moorouge
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posted 12-05-2010 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The shuttle can and has safely remained on the pad for several months.

Another silly question. So what's the longest a shuttle has remained on the pad before launch?

moorouge
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posted 12-11-2010 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To answer my own question - assuming a 3rd Feb 2011 launch (announced as earliest) and that there is no return to the VAB, Discovery will have been on the pad for 104 days. Is this the longest?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-11-2010 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know if it is the absolute longest, but Challenger sat on the pad 126 days (Nov. 30, 1982 through April 4, 1983) before flying its maiden mission, STS-6.

Discovery, if it is not rolled back and assuming a Feb. 3, 2011 liftoff, will be on the pad 136 days (from Sept. 21, 2010).

There has been some increased talk about rolling Discovery back to the VAB, but a decision to do so won't come before the tanking test currently planned for Dec. 15.

moorouge
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posted 12-11-2010 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are quite correct about Discovery Robert. I forgot to include October when I added up.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-13-2010 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Discovery won't be setting any records for time on the pad. After the tanking test -- now scheduled for Friday -- the shuttle will be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-14-2010 05:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Via NASA TV, a few minutes of footage showing technicians installing strain gauges to prepare Discovery's external tank for Friday's tanking test:

A total of 89 strain gauges and temperature sensors will be installed to precisely record movement and temperatures from the external tank's ribbed intertank area as it chills and warms again during the fuel loading and emptying process.

hawaiidan
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posted 12-20-2010 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hawaiidan   Click Here to Email hawaiidan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flying (again) 12,300 miles for Feb 3. Anyone have two tickets to causeway and KSC? I work with Keck, mid mid-pacific astro physics... dsmith66@earthlink.net if you can help.


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