Saturday, July 11, 2009

NASA prepares Endeavour for Launch Tonight

The threat of thunderstorms and possible lightning this afternoon could cause space shuttle Endeavour's countdown to turn from trouble free to scrub as Air Force weather continues to forecast only a 40% "Go" due to weather.

Several days this week the Cape Canaveral region has been under a Phase Two lightning alert which means a high chance for lightning in association with summer storms along the Space Coast. In fact, Endeavour's launch pad 39-A received a lightning strike on Wednesday.

Endeavour's commander Mark "Roman" Polansky stated at 8:54 am EDT this morning to, "Good morning! Launch day is here again. As far as weather goes, my philosophy is it's always 50/50. Either it'll be good or it won't."

Air Force weather officer Kathy Winters mentioned yesterday that she believes the storms will be inland and away from the coastal region at launch time. She also stated that the storms and lightning threat has to be outside 20 nautical miles from the Kennedy Space Center's shuttle runway near launch time.

Weather could be a concern all the way down until 7:30 pm - the time when NASA must restart the countdown for the final nine minutes before launch.

Led by Commander Polansky, Endeavour's crew includes pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists David A. Wolf, Christopher Cassidy, Tom Marshburn, Timothy Kopra and Julie Payette (Canadian Space Agency).

STS-127 PreLaunch Activites (EDT):
  • 10:14a: External Tank Fueling begins
  • 3:09p: Crew weather briefing
  • 3:20p: Crews dresses into Launch Suits
  • 3:44p: T-:03 hours and counting
  • 3:49p: Crew departs for Launch Pad 39-A
  • 4:18p: Crew arrives at Endeavour's Hatch to begin boarding
  • 5:35p: Endeavour's hatch closed for flight
  • 6:24p: T-20 minutes and Holding (for 10 mins)
  • 7:30:35p: T-9 minutes and counting
  • 7:34:35p: Pilot performs APU Start
  • 7:39:35p: T-0 - Launch Commit...
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