Sunday, May 04, 2008

Space shuttle Discovery makes trek out to Launch Pad 39A

Space shuttle Discovery made the long, slow trek out to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The 3.4-mile trek is one of the last major milestones leading up to the launch of Discovery on the STS-124 mission. Launch is targeted for May 31.Carried by the slow-moving crawler-transporter, the shuttle assembly and mobile launcher platform began rolling out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at 11:47 p.m. EDT Friday night and was secured at the pad at 6:06 a.m. on Saturday.The canister carrying the STS-124 payloads arrived at the launch pad April 29. Primary payloads are the tour-bus-sized Japanese Experiment Module-Pressurized Module and the lab's robotic arm system.

The components will soon be installed in the orbiter's payload bay.The STS-124 crew members, commanded by astronaut Mark Kelly, are set to arrive at Kennedy on May 6 for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. The three-day event concludes May 9 with a full dress rehearsal of the launch countdown.
-Source: NASA

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Shuttle to Constellation Transition

NASA's evolution of people, property, processes, and plans to enable NASA's space exploration missions by evolving from our Space Shuttle-based human space flight system to a new architecture designed to achieve the objectives of the Vision for Space Exploration. This architecture is the Constellation human space flight system.

For this major transition, NASA has employed focused methods to evolve today's human spaceflight capability to the exploration capability of tomorrow. "Transition provides us with a unique opportunity to reinvent and revitalize NASA's human spaceflight program and make it more efficient by focusing on the evolution of our skilled workers and our facilities and infrastructure…" -Source: NASAApril 1, 2008 -- Workforce TransitionWorkforce Transition Strategy Report Workforce Transition Strategy Briefing

Sunday, March 02, 2008

STS-123 Update

NASA's mission management team decided Friday that March 11 at 2:28 a.m. EDT is the official launch time for space shuttle Endeavour's STS-123 mission. After two days of evaluating launch preparations for the mission, the group has confirmed the readiness of the shuttle, flight crew and payload for the next flight to the International Space Station. Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations said there are very few issues being worked and the shuttle is ready to go. He stressed the16-day mission will be complex for the crew with five spacewalks to continue expansion of the station. "It was a very thorough review, we covered lots information, lots of data," said Gerstenmaier. "The teams are truly ready." "It’s a tribute to the teams that they worked so well with the vehicle... they've done a phenomenal job." "We're right on the timeline," said Mike Leinbach, space shuttle launch director. "Endeavour is doing really well and we're ready to launch on the eleventh." The crew will deliver the first segment of a Japanese laboratory complex called Kibo, plus a new Canadian robotics system to complement the station's robot arm. The flight is commanded by Dominic Gorie with Gregory H. Johnson serving as Pilot. The crew also includes Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan, Robert L. Behnken, Mike Foreman, Garret Reisman and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Atlantis Lands At KSC

Space Shuttle Atlantis rolled to a gentle stop on Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida after a 9:07 a.m. EST touchdown that brings to a close mission STS-122. The landing support convoy is conducting the post-landing "safing" of the vehicle. This convoy consists of about 25 specially designed vehicles or units and a team of about 150 trained personnel who also assist the crew in leaving the orbiter, as well as prepare and tow the vehicle to the Orbiter Processing Facility. . -Source NASA

Atlantis To Land Tomorrow

The crew of space shuttle Atlantis is spending today getting ready for their return home and the end of the STS-122 mission. As part of the preparations, the astronauts performed a test earlier today of the steering jets – or thrusters – that will be used to position the orbiter for re-entry. They did not test the four aft orbiter maneuvering system vernier thrusters. These share a common heater, which failed overnight, making them inoperative during the test. These four steering jets are not needed for deorbit or landing and will not have an impact on the remainder of the mission. The crew members also successfully tested the control surfaces to be used during Atlantis’ flight through the atmosphere. The STS-122 astronauts also are setting up the recumbent seat for Mission Specialist Daniel Tani, who joined the crew of Atlantis on the International Space Station. The recumbent seat is a special seat designed to reduce the stress of gravity on those who have spent long periods of time in the weightless environment of space. Tani served as Expedition 16 flight engineer for almost four months. He was replaced on the station crew by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Leopold Eyharts. STS-122 arrived at the station Feb. 9, delivering ESA’s Columbus laboratory to the station. The crews installed Columbus Feb. 11 and conducted three spacewalks to prepare Columbus for its scientific work. They also replaced an expended nitrogen tank on the station’s P1 truss. The orbiter is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., tomorrow. . -Source NASA

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thrid Space Walk Completed

Mission managers let the crew sleep in an extra 30 minutes today after a busy spacewalk. Friday's spacewalk by mission specialists Rex Walheim and Stanley Love lasted 7 hours and 25 minutes. The space shuttle Atlantis and International Space Station crews are busy today transferring supplies and equipment into the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Columbus laboratory. This morning, the station will get a reboost, a routine procedure to adjust its orbit. Also, the STS-122 and Expedition 16 crews will participate in a joint crew news conference at 8:40 a.m. EST. In addition to delivering the Columbus laboratory to the orbital outpost, Atlantis’ astronauts performed three spacewalks to prepare the module for its scientific work and replaced an expended nitrogen tank on the station. Atlantis also transported ESA astronaut Leopold Eyharts to the station to take the place of Daniel Tani as Expedition 16 flight engineer. Tani is returning to Earth aboard the shuttle. Atlantis and the STS-122 crew are scheduled to leave the space station on Monday, with undocking slated for 4:26 a.m. that day. -Source NASA

Astronauts Ready for FInal Walk

The crew of space shuttle Atlantis began preparing Thursday for the third and final spacewalk of the mission. As part of the preparation, Mission Specialists Rex Walheim and Stanley Love are spending Thursday night in the International Space Station’s Quest airlock. The purpose of the “camp out” is to purge the nitrogen from their bodies before their planned exit at 8:40 a.m. EST Friday. During the spacewalk, Walheim and Love will install two payloads on Columbus’ exterior: SOLAR, an observatory to monitor the sun; and the European Technology Exposure Facility that will carry nine experiments requiring exposure to the space environment. The STS-122 and Expedition 16 crews also spent time Thursday outfitting racks and systems inside the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory, preparing the module for the scientific work ahead of it. Thursday morning, STS-122 Commander Steve Frick, Mission Specialists Hans Schlegel and Daniel Tani, station Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Leopold Eyharts spoke with Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany. Schlegel, a European Space Agency astronaut, is from Germany. Also participating were ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and former astronaut Thomas Reiter of the German Space Agency. Atlantis is slated to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Wednesday. ' xmlns=""> --> - Source: NASA

Monday, February 11, 2008

Astronauts Complete First Spacewalk

STS-122 Mission Specialists Rex Walheim and Stanley Love successfully completed the mission’s first spacewalk, the primary goal of which was to prepare the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory for installation on the International Space Station. The 7-hour, 58-minute excursion concluded at 5:11 p.m. EST. Walheim and Love performed several tasks to prepare Columbus for attachment to the station, which included installing the Power Data Grapple Fixture on Columbus. This allowed Mission Specialists Leland Melvin and Daniel Tani, along with Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Leopold Eyharts, to use the station’s robotic arm to grab the laboratory module. The spacewalkers completed some work to prepare for the removal of the Nitrogen Tank Assembly (NTA), a part of the station’s thermal control system, from the P1 truss. Removal of this assembly, as well as installation of a new one, will be performed during STS-122’s next spacewalk. The NTA will be replaced because its nitrogen is running low. Walheim and Mission Specialist Hans Schlegel also will continue to prepare the Columbus laboratory when they perform STS-122’s second spacewalk at 9:35 a.m. Wednesday. - Source: NASA