Author Archive: Matt

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.

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By July 4, 2006 Read More →

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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By July 4, 2006 Read More →

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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By July 4, 2006 Read More →

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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By July 4, 2006 Read More →

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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By July 3, 2006 Read More →

Discovery still safe?

Following the inspection of Discovery’s external tank which led to the finding of a crack in the foam covering Nasa made the following comments:

“At a Mission Management Team meeting this morning, a decision was made to continue analyzing available data before making a final decision regarding tomorrow’s launch attempt. The question is whether there needs to be a hands-on inspection of the area around the foam crack before launch.”

It is believed that the fueling and emptying of the external tank along with the rain over the weekend led to ice build up which has then caused a crack to appear in the foam. It is now understood that a small piece of foam has been shed from the area around the crack.

Nasa have since said that even if that piece of foam had come loose during launch that it would have been too small to have caused any problems.

Didn’t they say that last time?

Matt

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By July 3, 2006 Read More →

Crack in shuttle tank foam

Engineers conducting a routine check of the shuttle Discovery after Sunday’s launch postponement have found a crack in the foam insulation lining the orbiter’s external tank.

The 12cm-long, 3mm-deep breakage was spotted near a bracket close to the top of the fuel tank, Nasa confirmed.

Its not yet known what this could mean to the launch but probably puts mission STS-121 very much in jeopardy.

“We don’t know if it’s a problem or not (for the launch),” said US space agency spokesman George Diller.

“If we decide we have to do something about it, we probably cannot launch tomorrow,” Diller was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Matt

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By July 2, 2006 Read More →

Scrubbed ’till Tuesday

Nasa have decided that there is ‘no chance of clear weather’ for the launch of Discovery today. There will now be a 48hr stand-down for another attempt again on Tuesday giving the crew and other tam members time to rest.

The crew of Discovery are being helped out of the obiter now.

Third time lucky we hope!

Matt

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By July 2, 2006 Read More →

Crew on their way to the pad.

The crew of Discovery STS-121 are now on their way to the launch pad and should be baording within the next 25 minutes.

Commander Lindsey has just received an updated weather briefing, launch is still looking unlikely due to the weather.

Matt

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By July 2, 2006 Read More →

All fueled up

Discovery’s fuel tanks have been filled with the 500,000 gallons super-cold cryogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The total tanking time was just short of three hours.

Kathy Winters, shuttle weather officer, forecasts a 70-percent chance of weather prohibiting a launch this afternoon due to thunderstorms and anvil clouds.

If the launch is scrubed again today due to weather, mission managers will meet later to decide if they want to make a third consecutive launch attempt or stand down for one day and try again on Tuesday.

Matt

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By July 2, 2006 Read More →

Launch unlikely

Latest news from Florida is that the Shuttle launch is unlikely for today. Weather monitoring says that there is only a 30% chance that the weather will allow for a launch. If Discovery can’t launch today it will be Tuesday before they can try again!

Matt

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