Thursday, August 27, 2009

Discovery Launch Attempt Likely after Tests

Things are looking up for space shuttle Discovery this morning, with the odds of launching tonight improving following five valve cycle tests last night.

A few more tests were ran over night, and NASA's Mission Management Team will meet at Noon EDT today to formally review the results and make a Go/ No Go to begin fueling of the external fuel tank this afternoon.

A liquid hydrogen (LH2) fill and drain valve, located in the aft section of the orbiter, did not register closed as fueling neared completion on Tuesday during the final hours of the second launch attempt.

Beginning at 6:28 pm last evening, technicians cycled the LH2 valve open and closed five times with perfect results.

Beginning at 8:57 am EDT, the countdown clock will resume at the T-11 hour mark. At noon, the MMT will meet for an hour to discuss the results of the valve tests and if everyone is go for launch. If the MMT is go, then fueling of the external tank would begin at 2:57 pm as the launch team chill downs the fuel lines, and ten minutes later, the first drops of cryogenic fuels will begin to flow into the tanks.

Launch is targeted for 12:22:09 am EDT tomorrow morning, or 04:22:09 UTC.

Monday's first launch attempt was scrubbed at T-9 minutes due to low clouds and rain near the Kennedy Space Center.

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