Archive for July 4th, 2006

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Successful launch!

Following the frustrating flight cancellations over the weekend, Discovery blasts off on time for mission STS-121.

Is there a better way for the americans to celebrate the 4th July?!

There have been some early reports that some debris fell off the external tank some time into the launch but Nasa have stated that they feel that, although it is rather early to say, the debris was not shed at a critical time within the launch but that there will be a full analysis of all the video footage over the next few days.

Matt

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Discovery all set!

The astronauts are buckled into their seats inside Discovery’s cabin. The STS-121 crew is now going through final checks inside the orbiter to prepare for liftoff.

The Ground Launch Sequencer (GLS) computer has been activated in the firing room. The GLS is a master computer program which controls the final nine minutes of the countdown. The GLS will monitor approximately one thousand different measurements to ensure the system operates within predetermined limits.

Everything looks good for a 19:38 launch, one minor problem could be the cross wind at the shuttle launch facility. Althought this doesn’t pose a problem for the launch, in the event of an emergency abort where the shuttle had to return to the launch facility the wind velocity has to be between certain limits.

Matt

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Another Discovery glitch

Engineers have just doscovered another issue with Discovery that is being addressed at this time. A backup circuit breaker that controls the primary heaters on the segment joints of both solid rocket boosters has failed. A team called “Red Team” will be going out to the mobile launcher platform to quickly replace the circuit breaker and then leave. This isn’t a mission threatening problem as Discovery could fly with only the main circuit breaker functioning, but since there is the time to replace the failed unit, the team will do so.

The latest weather update suggests that there is upwards of an 80% chance of a clear launch window today.

Matt

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Discovery ‘GO’ For Independence Day Launch

Over night Nasa have conducted extensive tests on Discovery’s external fuel tank. Analysis has shown that the area around the crack is intact and there is no concern for heating as there is adequate foam in place on the strut. Additional borescope inspection of the tank revealed that the bracket has no cracks.

The weather forecast in the area shows that there is a 60% chance of launch today. The ten-minute launch window opens up at 18:38 GMT.

Matt

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