Saturday, August 22, 2009

Countdown Underway for Launch of Discovery

Clocks here at the Kennedy Space Center began ticking backward as the Launch Control Center picked up the countdown toward the launch of the space shuttle Discovery this Tuesday morning.

Launch of NASA's fourth space shuttle flight of 2009 is scheduled for 1:36:05 am EDT, on Tuesday morning.

The Air Force Weather Office here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is forecasting a 70% chance of acceptable conditions at launch. The real concern will come late afternoon on Monday when launch control prepares to load the super cold fuels into the rust-colored external fuel tank. There is a 30% chance of possible lightning along the Space Coast, a task which states lightning cannot be with 20 miles of the launch pad at the time of fueling.

The seven member flight crew arrived at America's spaceport on Wednesday, a tad earlier than most crews due to the remodeling of the crew quarters at the Johnson Space Center south of Houston. Shuttle crews normally begin one week of quarantine prior to launch day, thus this crew will spend most of it at the Operations and Checkout building about 10 miles from the launch pad.

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