Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A busy day aboard Discovery

The seven member crew of the 125th space shuttle flight spent this morning aboard Discovery running through a mock countdown as they finish their last day of practice here at the Kennedy Space Center.

Earlier they donned their launch and entry suits and took the astro van to launch complex 39-A - just as they will do in three weeks when they prepare for launch. Inside KSC's launch control room, they went through a countdown which concluded at just before 11 am, when the computer called for a cut-off at the T-:04 second point.

It was a very cold morning with temperatures in the mid-30's during this mock count. So much so that had this been an actual launch day, a few here at the KSC press site stated they would have scrubbed for the day due to launch rules pertaining to cold temperatures. [Freezing weather has a negative effect on certain rubber joints and seals which support the casings on the solid rocket boosters.]

Also this afternoon, the payload bay doors of Discovery were slowly closed for flight. The above image was recorded by NASA/ KSC moments prior to door closing, and show the Starboard Truss solar array segment which will generate more power for the international space station. Beginning in late-May, the station is scheduled to begin supporting long duration crews of six instead of the current three person rotation.

A flight readiness review by the entire NASA centers will occur on February 3. Currently launch of Discovery is scheduled for February 12th at 7:32 am EST.

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