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  1. #1
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    Default Shuttle launch countdown begins

    Shuttle launch countdown begins

    Discovery is "go" for launch on Saturday, though delays are likely

    The US space agency has begun a three-day countdown to the launch of its next space shuttle mission.

    At 2200 BST (1700 EDT) on Wednesday, launch team members at Kennedy Space Center in Florida set the clock running ahead of Saturday's planned lift-off.

    The shuttle Discovery is set to visit the International Space Station on a 12-day mission to deliver supplies and equipment and test safety improvements.

    But Nasa says there is a strong chance of weather delaying the launch.

    Thunderstorms and anvil clouds brought the threat of lightning strikes, the agency said, estimating the chance of postponement at about 60%.

    'Excellent shape'

    During a countdown status briefing at Kennedy, Nasa test director Jeff Spaulding announced: "Discovery is in excellent shape, and we're tracking no issues in our preparation at this point.

    "Our teams have been working tirelessly during this last year to help make this flight and all shuttle flights as safe as possible for the crews."

    In the run-up to launch, some final "tireless work" for the five-man, two-woman crew of Discovery will involve training for the descent phase, Florida Today newspaper reports.

    Mission commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Mark Kelly will practise landing in a Gulfstream aircraft modified to mimic the shuttle's steep trajectory during final approach.

    Sellers ready for big walk

    Fellow astronauts Mike Fossum, Stephanie Wilson and Piers Sellers will be at the pad, training to take pictures of the shuttle's re-designed external fuel tank once it is jettisoned from the orbiter nine minutes into flight.

    It is only the second shuttle launch since Columbia broke up as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere in 2003.

    A suitcase-sized foam chunk broke away from the external tank on lift-off and punched a hole in Columbia's wing.

    This allowed super-heated gases into the wing during descent towards Earth on 1 February 2003, tearing the craft apart.

    Foam was also shed during the first post-Columbia launch in July 2005. This forced Nasa managers to ground the fleet while further modifications were made to the tank.

    Completion aim

    At a Flight Readiness Review on 17 June, Nasa managers were split on whether the problem was fixed.

    The agency's chief engineer Christopher Scolese and its top safety officer Bryan O'Connor each cast a negative vote for Discovery's lift-off on 1 July. Their concerns centred on the risk of losing the orbiter, but not its astronaut crew.

    The option of using the International Space Station (ISS) as a lifeboat if the shuttle was damaged provides this mission with additional security, Scolese has said.

    On this mission, a new crew member, the European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter, will be dropped off at the station for a six-month-long stay.

    If the flight is successful, Nasa plans another 16 missions to finish construction of the half-built ISS, and - potentially - one last servicing call to the Hubble Space Telescope before the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010.

    Nasa's launch team is conducting the countdown from the newly renovated Firing Room Four of Kennedy's Launch Control Center.

  2. #2
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    Imagini live NASA TV pe Eutelsat W1 10 Est Frq: 10970 - Pol: V - SR: 4167


  3. #3
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    Atlantic Bird 1

    12643 H 6111 4:2:0

    Coverage will start on July 1st at 16:00 CET.

    Scheduled times CET below :

    01/07 (Sat) 16:00 18:50
    STS-121 Launch Commentary

    01/07 (Sat) 20:45 22:30
    STS-121 Final Countdown, Lift-off and Flight

    01/07 (Sat) 23:00 23:30
    STS-121 Post-Launch Media Briefing with Mike Griffin

    02/07 (Sun) 03:00 03:30
    STS-121 Shuttle Briefing (First Look at Ascent Images)

  4. #4
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    Pe marginea prapastiei. Privind voios (spre voi) in jos!
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    Lansarea navetei Discovery s-a amanat pentru azi 2 iulie la aceeasi ora , din cauza vremii nefavorabile.
    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sh...ain/index.html
    Daca aflati pe ce satelit va fi transmisa lansarea va rog sa postati aici. (merci @first_zipper).
    Apropo, mai merge Nasa Tv undeva ?

  5. #5
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    Default Weather pushes shuttle launch to Tuesday

    Weather pushes shuttle launch to Tuesday

    Bad weather forced NASA to postpone the launch of the space shuttle Discovery on Sunday for the second consecutive day, with the next launch attempt set for Tuesday.

    The decision to cancel liftoff came minutes after the seven crew members boarded the spaceship, even before the vessel's hatch was closed. Hours before, NASA forecasters had estimated only a 30 percent chance that weather would favor launch, as thunderclouds menaced the Kennedy Space Center.

    "We've concluded that we're not going to have a chance to launch today," launch director Mike Leinbach told the crew as they sat strapped into their shuttle seats.

    "OK, we copy," said shuttle commander Steve Lindsey. "Looking out the window, it doesn't look good today, and we think that's a great plan."

    Any rain during liftoff might damage the spaceship's heat-shielding tiles, and a lightning strike could knock out the computers that control the ship. Even some kinds of thick, high clouds make launch hazardous.

    The next launch was set for 11:38 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday.

    Discovery's mission is only the second since the 2003 Columbia accident, and another disaster or serious problem likely would end the shuttle program. NASA is hoping to fly 16 more missions to complete the $100 billion space station before the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010.

    Shuttle safety has been at the forefront of the program since Columbia disintegrated on re-entry, killing seven astronauts. NASA has twice redesigned the shuttle's fuel tank, which shed insulating foam that triggered the accident.

    The agency's top engineer and chief of safety wanted more repairs on the tank before Discovery was launched, but NASA administrator Michael Griffin overruled them, arguing that if foam falls again from the fuel tank and damages the shuttle, the crew could stay aboard the space station and await rescue.

    Griffin said this debate over safety is a good thing.

    "NASA had been criticized in the past for adhering to groupthink, for enforcing a needless conformity in decision-making, We have difficult, technically complex and subtle decisions to make…We did the best analysis we can, and we make a decision, and I'm comfortable with that."

    Delaying the launch would put more pressure on the shuttles, which are the only vehicles that can deliver and install the station's remaining trusses, solar arrays and laboratories.

    The agency plans two more flights this year and about four a year until the station is finished and the fleet is retired.

    NASA had hoped to resume space station construction last year, but the shuttle's fuel tank failed its first test flight. Engineers then removed two long wind deflectors from the tank, which had shed foam during Discovery's 2005 liftoff.

  6. #6
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    Default Discovery Launch - Crack

    Discovery Launch - Crack
    03.07.2006

    The twice-delayed launch of the US space shuttle Discovery was plunged into uncertainty Monday after a crack was discovered in the insulating foam on its troublesome external fuel tank.

    NASA announced the discovery one day before Discovery's planned liftoff with seven astronauts on a crucial mission for US space ambitions.

    Officials said Monday it was unclear whether Tuesday's planned launch would now proceed as engineers inspect the crack.

    "We don't know if it's a problem or not (for the launch)," said NASA spokesman George Diller. "If we decide we have to do something about it we probably cannot launch tomorrow."

    The orange-hued fuel tank's foam insulation has perplexed NASA ever since the 2003 Columbia disaster, which was caused by loose foam that pierced the shuttle's heat shield during liftoff and doomed its return to Earth.

    The US space agency spent more than a billion dollars to fix the problem, only to see a piece of foam fall off Discovery's fuel tank in the first post-tragedy launch in July 2005. The debris missed the shuttle, however.

    Prior to the current planned launch, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin expressed confidence that no large chunks of foam would shed from Discovery's second mission since Columbia.

    The crack found overnight was about one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch deep and five inches (12.5 centimeters) long, Diller said. It was found in the insulating foam on a bracket that holds an oxygen feed line.

    The discovery came after storms scuttled two weekend launch attempts, forcing NASA to take a break Monday to rest the launch crew and recharge fuel cells that power the shuttle in orbit.

    Diller said the crack might have been caused by the unloading and reloading of fuel during the past two days into the huge external tank -- about the height of the Statue of Liberty -- that helps power Discovery into orbit.

    Discovery's five men and two women astronauts are due to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) on a mission aimed at improving shuttle safety.

    During the 12-day flight, the astronauts will test new procedures to boost safety as well as deliver critical equipment and supplies to the ISS.

    They will drop off European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany, who will join the ISS's two other crew members for a long-term stay, and will perform two space walks.

    NASA hopes to extend the mission by a day to conduct a third space walk to test new repair techniques.

    The mission comes three years after the shuttle Columbia disintegrated while returning to Earth.

    NASA grounded its 25-year-old fleet last year after debris fell off Discovery's fuel tank.

    The space agency has installed cameras on the shuttle and its fuel tank to detect any loss of foam during liftoff. The shuttle's heat shield will then be photographed as it approaches the ISS.

    Griffin, the NASA chief, has said the Discovery mission was crucial to returning to regular shuttle flights. Griffin wants to conduct four shuttle missions a year to complete the space station by 2010, when the 25-year-old fleet is scheduled to retire.

    He decided to go ahead with the launch despite objections in his own staff.

    NASA chief safety officer Bryan O'Connor and chief engineer Chris Scolese had called for a six-month delay to the Discovery launch to redesign foam on the fuel tank.

    But the two officials backed the launch after NASA said the astronauts could take refuge on the ISS and wait for a rescue mission should the shuttle suffer irreparable damage.

    NASA has a launch window for Discovery that lasts until July 19.

  7. #7
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    NASA will continue preparations to launch Discovery tomorrow while engineers study a crack in the foam on the shuttle’s external fuel tank, according to John Shannon, deputy shuttle program manager.

    Shuttle managers are moving forward with the countdown for a July 4 launch, as engineers continue to investigate a piece of foam that came off the external fuel tank. The foam -- from a bracket that holds the liquid oxygen feedline in place -- was not big enough to have damaged the shuttle had it come off during flight.

    The situation needs additional analysis, and the mission management team will meet again at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

  8. #8
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    NASA said it would go ahead with plans to launch the US space shuttle Discovery despite finding a crack in the insulating foam on its troublesome external fuel tank.

    Mission management team chairman John Shannon said Monday that officials would meet later in the day to "try and clear all our concerns, and go launch tomorrow. Right now we have a good shot of launch tomorrow if we can clear this particular issue," shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach said Monday.

    NASA announced the discovery of the crack one day before shuttle's planned liftoff with seven astronauts on a crucial mission for US space ambitions.

    Inspectors found the crack overnight after the tank was emptied of its liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuel, following the second straight launch delay Sunday.

    The orange-hued fuel tank's foam insulation has perplexed NASA ever since the 2003 Columbia disaster, which was caused by loose foam that pierced the shuttle's heat shield during liftoff and doomed its return to Earth.

    The US space agency spent more than a billion dollars to fix the problem, only to see a piece of foam fall off Discovery's fuel tank in the first post-tragedy launch in July 2005. The debris missed the shuttle, however.

    Prior to the current planned launch, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin expressed confidence that no large chunks of foam would shed from Discovery's second mission since Columbia.

    The crack was about one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch deep and five inches (12.5 centimeters) long, NASA spokesman George Diller said. It was found in the insulating foam on a bracket that holds an oxygen feed line.

    The discovery came after storms scuttled two weekend launch attempts, forcing NASA to take a break Monday to rest the launch crew and recharge fuel cells that power the shuttle in orbit.

    Diller said the crack might have been caused by the unloading and reloading of fuel during the past two days into the huge external tank -- about the height of the Statue of Liberty -- that helps power Discovery into orbit.

    Discovery's five men and two women astronauts are due to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) on a mission aimed at improving shuttle safety.

    During the 12-day flight, the astronauts will test new procedures to boost safety as well as deliver critical equipment and supplies to the ISS.

    They will drop off European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany, who will join the ISS's two other crew members for a long-term stay, and will perform two space walks.

    Griffin, the NASA chief, has said the Discovery mission was crucial to returning to regular shuttle flights. Griffin wants to conduct four shuttle missions a year to complete the space station by 2010, when the 25-year-old fleet is scheduled to retire.

    He decided to go ahead with the launch despite objections in his own staff.

    NASA chief safety officer Bryan O'Connor and chief engineer Chris Scolese had called for a six-month delay to the Discovery launch to redesign foam on the fuel tank.

    But the two officials backed the launch after NASA said the astronauts could take refuge on the ISS and wait for a rescue mission should the shuttle suffer irreparable damage.

  9. #9
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    The latest is the launch will take place at 14.38 EDT, 18.38 GMT.

  10. #10
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    lansarea navetei Discovery este LIVE pe UP4(NASA TV) pe Eutelsat W1 10.0E
    10970 V
    SR 4167

 

 

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