Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Launch Day! Discovery's Mission Nears

NASA and the Kennedy Space Center remain go for launch this morning as technicians prepare to fuel the space shuttle Discovery to kickoff a 13 day mission to resupply and deliver new equipment to the international space station.

Launch of NASA's 128th space shuttle flight is scheduled for 1:36:04 am EDT on Tuesday morning, from Launch Complex 39-A. The launch window will last only 5 minutes. The weather forecast looks great with an 80% favorable rating from Cape Weather, as only a few light clouds will hug the space coast at launch time.

Due to the darkness and lack of Moon light following orbital insertion, the crew will not be able to photograph the external fuel tank as is normally the custom following tank separation.

Earlier today at 5AM EDT, crews at Discovery's ocean side launch pad began moving the massive rotating service structure back away from it's protective stance around the orbiter.

Launch Countdown Milestones include (EDT):
  • 9:11a: T-11 hours and counting
  • 10:21a: Discovery's fuel cells activated
  • 11AM: Launch pad 39-A cleared of extra personal
  • 2:11p: Flight crew awakes for Flight
  • 4:11p: T-6 hours and counting
  • 4:11p: Fuel lines to the External Tank chilled
  • 4:20p: External Tank fueling begins as Liquid Oxygen & liquid hydrogen begin flowing
  • 7:11p: T-3 hours and Holding (2 1/2 hrs)
  • 9:46p: Flight crew departs for Pad 39A
  • 10:16p: Crew begins to ingress Discovery
  • 11:21p: Discovery's hatch closure begins
  • 12:42a: T-9 minutes and Holding begins
  • 1:27:04a: T-9 minutes and counting
  • 1:28:34a: Retraction of crew access arm
  • 1:31:04a: APU Start by Pilot
  • 1:35:58a: Main engines start...
  • 1:36:04a: T-0: Lift-off of Discovery!

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