STS-133 Launch Timeline

February 24, 2011 22:08 by scibuff

Update: See the mission details and more photos in my STS-133 Space Shuttle Discovery post.

The milestones of STS-133 Space Shuttle Discovery launch (reverse order):

03:50 GMT (Feb. 25) – Crew sleep begins
02:15 GMT (Feb. 25) – ET video downlink
02:10 GMT (Feb. 25) – ET photo
22:40 GMT – Post insertion timeline begins
22:30 GMT – OMS-2 rocket firing (orbit circularization)

~ 22:03:34 GMT @ T+09:00 – Nominal MECO, OMS-1 not required. With a direct insertion ascent, the main engines are burned slightly longer to achieve the desired apogee altitude, such that an OMS-1 maneuver (which would supply the additional thrust needed to reach orbit) is not required.

– 22:03:07 GMT @ T+08:33 – External Tank (ET) separation.

External Tank Separation

External Tank Separation

– 22:03:04 GMT @ T+08:30 – Zero Thrust.

– 22:02:58 GMT @ T+08:24 – Main Engine Cut-off (MECO). Discovery has reach the planned orbit and is schedule to dock with the International Space Station on Flight Day 3.

– 22:02:15 GMT @ T+07:41 – Negative Istres.

– 22:01:54 GMT @ T+07:20 – Negative Moron.

– 22:00:47 GMT @ T+06:13 – Press to MECO and Single Engine Zaragoza 104 – Discovery can now reach planned orbit in case of a single SSME failure and the Zaragoza TAL site on a single engine at 104.5% throttle.

– 22:00:04 GMT @ T+05:30 – Single Engine OPS-3, select Zaragoza – Discovery could now reach the designated TAL site in Zaragoza Spain with a single engine at Full Power Level (FPL), i.e 109% throttle, should two of the SSME‘s fail (the OPS-3 software mode will be used for re-entry) – Prior to this point, the loss of two engines requires contingency abort procedures and OPS 6 software.

– 22:00:02 GMT @ T+05:28 – Roll to heads-up.

– 21:59:42 GMT @ T+05:08 – Press to ATO select Zaragoza – Discovery could now reach a safe orbit (circular / 194.5 km) with two Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) throttled at Typical Mission Power Level (104.5%) in case of a single SSME failure. Should one of the engines fail the crew could execute the Abort To Orbit (ATO) maneuver (in case of TAL abort, the landing facility in Zaragoza would be used).

– 21:59:02 GMT @ T+04:28 – End of OMS Assist.

– 21:58:28 GMT @ T+03:54 – Negative Return – Discovery has used too much fuel and is traveling too fast (9,310 km/h), too high (95 km) and is too far (191 km) to return to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for a potential Return To Launch Site (RTLS) abort.

21:57:26 GMT @ T+02:52 – 2 engine Istres. Discovery can now reach the Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site in Istres in the case of a single engine failure.

21:57:15 GMT @ T+02:41 – 2 engine Zaragoza. Discovery can now reach the TAL site in Zaragoza in the case of a single engine failure.

21:57:10 GMT @ T+02:36 – 2 engine Moron. Discovery can now reach the TAL site in Moron in the case of a single engine failure.

– 21:56:47 GMT @ T+02:13 – Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) assist.

– 21:56:37 GMT @ T+02:03Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) separation. Discovery is at the altitude of 45.08 km, 40.87 km down range from the KSC, traveling at 5 838.70 km/h (Mach 4).

SRB SEP

SRB SEP

– 21:54:35 GMT @ T+01:01 – Max-Q (the point of the greatest dynamic pressure).

– 21:54:27 GMT @ T+00:53 –Throttle up back to 104.5% engine power level.

– 21:54:22 GMT @ T+00:48 – Mach 1.

– 21:54:14 GMT @ T+00:40 – Throttle down from 104.5% to 72.0% engine power level at Mach 0.9.

– 21:53:52 GMT @ T+00:18 – Roll maneuver finished.

– 21:53:45 GMT @ T+00:11 – Start the roll program.

– 21:53:34 GMT @ T-00:00 – Lift-off. Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) ignition and lift-off of the Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-133 (ISS assembly flight 20A) mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Discovery

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Discovery

– 21:50:20 GMT @ T-00:06.6 (and 06.48, 06.36) – The three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) start.

Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) start

Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) start

– 21:50:18 GMT @ T-00:09 – The hydrogen burn-off system begins to eliminate free hydrogen exhausted into the main engine nozzles during the start sequence to prevent small, but potentially dangerous, explosions when the main engines ignite.

The hydrogen burn-off system begins to eliminate free hydrogen

The hydrogen burn-off system begins to eliminate free hydrogen

– 21:50:12 T-00:15 – The Sound Suppression Water System has been activated to protect Discovery and the launch pad from acoustical energy and rocket exhaust reflected from the flame trench and Mobile Launcher Platform during launch.

– 21:49:56 GMT @ T-00:31 – Auto-sequence start. Discovery’s on-board computers have primary control of all vehicle’s critical functions.

21:45:32 GMT: Terminate LO2 replenish
21:48: GMT: T-5 minutes and counting

T-4 minutes and 59 seconds and counting

T-4 minutes and 59 seconds and counting

21:45:27 GMT: Launch window opens, T-5 minutes and holding (the launch window expires at 21:55:27 GMT)

21:41:27 GMT: The countdown clock resumes at T-9min and counting.

T-8 minuts and 59 seconds and counting

T-8 minuts and 59 seconds and counting

21:21 GMT: NASA Test Director (NTD) launch status verification.
20:56 GMT: Begin final built-in hold (T-minus 9m)

20:45 GMT: Resume countdown (T-minus 20m)
20:35 GMT: Begin 10-minute built-in hold (T-minus 20m)

19:45 GMT: Shuttle Discovery’s hatch has been closed and latched for flight, the six STS-133 astronauts are strapped into their seats.

19:20 GMT: Astronaut comm checks.

18:00 GMT: The STS-133 crew leaves the crew quarters at the Operations and Checkout Building and board the Astrovan to head to the Pad 39A.

STS-133 Crew Heads to the Pad - The six Discovery astronauts suited up in their flight gear wave to the crowd and board NASA's Astrovan for the short trip to Launch Pad 39A. - Credit: NASA

17:55 GMT: Resume countdown (T-minus 3 hours).

T-3 hours and holding

T-3 hours and holding

15:25 GMT: The shuttle tanking went into a stable replenish and the countdown entered a 2.5 hour long inbuilt hold at T-3 hours. During the hold the closeout crew will proceed to white room at the pad and the astronauts will suit up.

15:20 GMT: The liquid hydrogen tanking has reached 98% and will transition from fast-full to top-off at 2700 l per minute.

13:15 GMT: Liquid oxygen tanking changes to fast-fill mode at almost 6,000 l per minute. Liquid hydrogen is also in fast-fill phase adding almost 32,000 liters every minute into the external tank (ET).

13:05 GMT: Launch teams began liquid oxygen tanking in the slow-fill phase adding 1,200 liters every minute.

12:25 (Feb. 24) GMT: Fueling of the External Tank began with liquid hydrogen (at 20K) in the slow-fill mode. Liquid oxygen (at 90.188 K) will follow at 13:05 GMT. Resume countdown (T-minus 6 hours)

10:13 GMT: The crew wakes up in the crew quarters inside the Operations & Checkout Building at KSC
10:25 GMT: Begin 2-hour built-in hold (T-minus 6 hours)
05:25 (Feb. 24) GMT: Resume countdown at T-11 hours

The Mission Click at T-minus 11 hours

The Mission Click at T-minus 11 hours and holding with Launch Pad 39-A and Space Shuttle Discovery in the background

Discovery’s last trip to space begins

February 24, 2011 21:57 by scibuff

Update 1: Check out the launch timeline for launch milestones and more photos.

February 24, 2011 at 21:53:34 UTC, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Discovery on its last journey into space after a series of 5 scrubs in November 2010. Six crew members of STS-133 (ISS assembly flight ULF5), commanded by NASA astronaut and Air Force officer Steven W. Lindsey (STS-87, STS-95, STS-104, STS-121), will stay in space 10 days and 19 hours and land at the Kennedy Space Center on 7 March 2011 at approximately 16:50 UTC. Mission Specialists Benjamin Alvin Drew, Jr. (STS-118) and Steve Bowen (STS-126, STS-132) will spend a total of 13.0 hours outside the station on flight days 5 and 7 (Bowen replaced astronaut Tim Kopra, who was injured in a bicycle accident in January). Discovery will spend two days heading toward its rendezvous with the International Space Station. On the second day of the flight, the crew will perform the standard scan of the shuttle’s thermal protection system using the orbiter boom sensor system attached to the end of Discovery’s robotic arm. On the third day of the flight, Discovery will approach and dock with the space station.

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Discovery

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Discovery

The mission will transport the Permanent Multipurpose Module Leonardo and the third of four ExPRESS Logistics Carriers (ELC4) to the ISS. The Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) is a large, reusable pressurized element, carried in the space shuttle’s cargo bay, originally used to ferry cargo back and forth to the station. For STS-133, the PMM, known as Leonardo, was modified to become a permanent module attached to the International Space Station. Once in orbit, the PMM will offer 70 additional cubic meters of pressurized volume for storage and for scientific use. The module is carried in the cargo bay of Discovery and will be connected to the Unity node on the station.

The Crew of STS-133

Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits, these six astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-133 crew portrait. Pictured are NASA astronauts Steve Lindsey (center right) and Eric Boe (center left), commander and pilot, respectively; along with astronauts (from the left) Alvin Drew, Nicole Stott, Michael Barratt and Steve Bowen, all mission specialists. - Credit: NASA

Almost 200 people from 15 countries have visited the International Space Station, but so far the orbiting complex has only ever had human crew members – until now. Robonaut 2, the latest generation of the Robonaut astronaut helpers, is set to launch to the space station aboard space shuttle Discovery on the STS-133 mission. It will be the first humanoid robot in space, and although its primary job for now is teaching engineers how dexterous robots behave in space, the hope is that through upgrades and advancements, it could one day venture outside the station to help spacewalkers make repairs or additions to the station or perform scientific work.

R2

R2 inside the EMI Chamber at Johnson Space Center waiting to move on to the next set of environmental tests. Photographer: Kris Kehe

R2, as the robot is called, will launch inside the Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module. Once R2 is unpacked – likely several months after it arrives – it will initially be operated inside the Destiny laboratory for operational testing, but over time, both its territory and its applications could expand. There are no plans to return R2 to Earth.

A Shuttle Back Flip at the Space Station

A Shuttle Back Flip at the Space Station - Credit: ISS Expedition 11 Crew, STS-114 Crew, NASA

NASA began a tradition of playing music to astronauts during the Gemini program, which was first used to wake up a flight crew during Apollo 15. Each track is specially chosen, often by their families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities. NASA opened the selection process to the public for the first time for STS-133. The public was invited to vote on two songs used to wake up astronauts on previous missions to wake up the STS-133 crew.

Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery as it approaches the International Space Station (ISS) during the STS-105 mission. Visible in the payload bay of Discovery are the Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Leonardo at right, which stores various supplies and experiments to be transferred into the ISS; at center, the Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) which carries the Early Ammonia Servicer (EAS); and two Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) containers at left. - Credit: NASA

On flight day 5, Drew and Bowen will install a power extension cable between the Unity and Tranquility nodes to provide a contingency power source. The spacewalkers will move a failed ammonia pump module that was replaced in August 2010 from an attachment bracket to a stowage platform adjacent to the Quest airlock. Drew and Bowen will install hardware under a camera on the truss that will tilt the camera to provide clearance for a spare part to be installed on a future mission. They next will replace a guide for the rail cart system used for moving cargo along the truss. The guides were removed when the astronauts were performing work on the station’s starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, which rotates the solar arrays to track the sun.

On flight day 7, Drew will remove thermal insulation from a platform while Bowen swaps out an attachment bracket on the Columbus module. Bowen then will install a camera assembly on the Dextre robot and remove insulation from Dextre’s electronics platform. Drew will install a light on a cargo cart and repair some dislodged thermal insulation from a valve on the truss then remove other insulation from Tranquility. The final task will be to “fill” a special bottle with space for a Japanese education payload. The bottle will be part of a museum exhibit for public viewing.

Discovery launch

Time-lapse photography captures space shuttle Discovery's path to orbit. Liftoff from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida was at 6:21 a.m. EDT April 5 on the STS-131 mission. The seven-member crew will deliver the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, filled with supplies, a new crew sleeping quarters and science racks that will be transferred to the International Space Station's laboratories. - Credit: NASA/Ben Cooper

Discovery was NASA’s third space shuttle orbiter to join the fleet at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Discovery also is known inside the space agency by its designation Orbiter Vehicle-103, or OV-103. Construction of Discovery began on Aug. 27, 1979 and was completed four years later. Discovery rolled out of the assembly plant building in Palmdale, California, October 1983 and was first launched Aug. 30, 1984 (STS-41D).

Discovery flew its maiden voyage on Aug. 30, 1984, on the STS-41D mission. Later missions included NASA’s return to flight after the loss of Challenger (September 1988) and Columbia (July 2005), launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in April 1990, the final Shuttle/Mir docking mission in June 1998 and Senator John Glenn’s shuttle flight in October 1998.

When first flown, Discovery became the third operational orbiter, and it currently is the oldest orbiter in service. It was named after two historic, Earth-bound exploring ships of the past. One was a vessel used by Henry Hudson in the early 1600s to explore the Hudson Bay and search for a northwest passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The other was one of two ships used by the British explorer James Cook in the 1770s. Cook’s voyages in the South Pacific led to the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. Another of his ships was the Endeavour, the namesake of NASA’s newest shuttle.

After STS-133 Discovery will be the first space shuttle to retire from NASA’s fleet, having flown in space 39 times – more than any other shuttle.

Discovery’s numbers prior to STS-133:

Total distance traveled: 230 003 477 km
Total days in orbit: 351 (8,441 hours, 50 minutes, 41 seconds)
Total orbits: 5,628
Total flights: 38
Total crew members: 246
Mir dockings: 1 (STS-91 June 1998)
ISS dockings: 12
Discovery at Night

Discovery at Night - Xenon lights illuminate space shuttle Discovery on Launch Pad 39A following the retraction of the rotating service structure - Credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

Astronews Daily (2455468)

September 28, 2010 15:32 by scibuff

Top Stories

NASA showdown looms as shuttle workers face layoffs – With more than 1,500 space shuttle workers facing layoffs this week, legislators say they will take a final shot at passing a blueprint for the U.S. human space program before adjourning ahead of the November 2 congressional elections. -Reuters

How investments in space technology research can pay back big time – As the UK government ponders how much money it can afford to invest in research, it will want to reflect on Tuesday’s announcement from Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) and the rather small amount of public cash it sent the company’s way in 2000. -Jonathan Amos / BBC

How big is your camera? Astronomers use a 1.4 *giga*pixel camera to nab a potentially hazardous asteroid – The sky is big. Searching it for potentially hazard objects like asteroids and comets is hard. The best way to do it? A big ’scope, equipped with a BIG camera, and a wide, wide field of view. That’s just what the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System — PanSTARRS — brings to the table. It’s just a prototype, but it has a 1.8 meter ’scope on — wait for it, wait for it — Mount Haleakala, and it sports a 1.4 gigapixel camera. You read that right: 1.4 billion pixels. -Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy / Discovery Blogs

Videos

SDO has entered eclipse season. Around the time of the equinoxes, the spacecraft, Earth, and sun can line up almost perfectly. Once a day for about an hour, Earth blocks SDO

Photos

The Full Moon Over the Andes

The Full Moon Over the Andes

Vegas Moon & Eiffel Tower

Vegas Moon & Eiffel Tower

Observe the Moon

Observe the Moon - NASA

2010 ST3 taken by PS1

2010 ST3 taken by PS1 - PS1SC

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

The Earth at night with Aurora Australis

The Earth at night with Aurora Australis - Credit: Douglas H. Wheelock (@Astro_Wheels) / Expedition 24-25 / NASA

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery. The photo was taken by Douglas H. Wheelock (@Astro_Wheels), a member of the Expedition 24/25 crew, and the first US Army astronaut to command the International Space Station.

Atlantis launched on the last flight into space

May 14, 2010 18:24 by scibuff

Update 4: Official NASA launch footage:

The six-member crew of STS-132 began their 12-day mission to the International Space Station with the May 14 liftoff of space shuttle Atlantis at 18:20 UTC from NASA

Update 3: Launch photo in HD

Space shuttle Atlantis lifts-off of Pad 39A

Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station at 18:20 UTC on May 14 - Credit: NASA

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis - Credit: NASA/KSC

Update 2: Visit the STS-132 gallery to see a great collection of Atlantis launch photos.

Update 1: Check out the launch timeline for launch milestones and more photos.

May 14, 2010 at 18:20:09 UTC, NASA successfully launched the Space Shuttle Atlantis on its 32nd  flight – the 34th shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS). STS-132 is the final scheduled flight for Atlantis. It is also the first US spaceflight since STS-97 to only have veteran astronauts (astronauts who have flown at least one previous mission) on board. Six crew members of STS-132, commanded by NASA astronaut and US Navy captain Kenneth “Hock” Todd Ham (STS-124), will stay in space 11 Days 18 Hours 23 Minutes and land at the Kennedy Space Center on May 26 12:44 (UTC time). Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman (STS-123, Expedition 16, Expedition 17, STS-124), Michael Good (STS-125) and Steve Bowen (STS-126) will spend a total of 19.5 hours outside the station on flight days 4, 6 and 8.

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis on its last scheduled flight into space - Credit: NASA TV

Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station - Credit: NASA TV

Atlantis’ 12-day mission will deliver the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1 that will provide additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. MRM-1, also known as Rassvet (dawn in Russian), will be permanently attached to the bottom port of the station’s Zarya module. MRM-1 will carry important hardware on its exterior including a radiator, airlock and a European robotic arm. Atlantis also will deliver additional station hardware stored inside a cargo carrier.

Crew of STS-132

Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits, these six astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-132 crew portrait. Pictured clockwise are NASA astronauts Ken Ham (bottom), commander; Garrett Reisman and Michael Good, both mission specialists; Tony Antonelli, pilot; Piers Sellers and Steve Bowen both mission specialists - Credit: NASA

Three spacewalks are planned to stage spare components outside the station. On flight day 4, Reisman and Bowen will install a spare space-to-ground Ku-band antenna on the station’s truss, or backbone. Then they will install a new tool platform on Dextre. The spacewalkers will break the torque on bolts holding batteries in place on the truss, in preparation for their removal and replacement on the second and third spacewalks. Battery preparation work was deferred from STS-131 to this flight.

Garrett Reisman on an EVA during STS-123

Astronaut Garrett Reisman, Expedition 16 flight engineer, participates in the STS-123 mission’s first scheduled session of extravehicular activity as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station - Credit: NASA

On flight day 6, Bowen and Good will remove and replace three of the six batteries on the port truss to store electricity from the solar arrays on that truss. The used batteries will be installed on the cargo carrier for return to Earth on Atlantis. On flight day 8, Good and Reisman will install the final three new batteries on the truss and put the old batteries on the carrier. Next, if time permits, they will retrieve a grapple fixture from Atlantis’ payload bay and bring it inside the station for use as a spare.

Atlantis at the Launch Pad 39A

At NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A, space shuttle Atlantis is revealed Thursday evening after retraction of the pad's rotating service structure - Credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

A compact disk containing the digital copies of all entries submitted to NASA’s Space Shuttle Program Commemorative Patch Contest will be flown on STS-132. The contest was held to mark the end of the shuttle era. The winning patch was designed by Blake Dumesnil of Hamilton Sundstrand, Johnson Space Center. A panel of NASA judges selected the winning patch from 85 entries submitted by NASA employees and contractors.

Space Shuttle Program Commemorative Patch

Mr. Blake Dumesnil’s design as the winner in the Space Shuttle Program Commemorative Patch Contest

During its 32 missions and more than 25 years of service  Space Shuttle Atlantis has carried more than 200 astronauts and flown more than 100 million miles. Atlantis lifted off on its maiden voyage on October 3, 1985, on mission 51-J. Later missions included the launch of the Magellan probe to Venus on STS-30 in May 1989, Galileo interplanetary probe to Jupiter on STS-34 in October 1989, the first shuttle docking to the Mir Space Station on STS-71 in June 1995 and the final Hubble servicing mission on STS-125 in May 2009.

Final Call: The Legacy of space shuttle Atlantis

Although STS-132 is the last scheduled flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis, the orbiter will be prepared for the possibility of a STS-335 Launch On Need (LON) mission, in the unlikely event that STS-134 suffers severe damage requiring a crew rescue. If LON is not required, Atlantis, her external tank, and her two solid rocket boosters will have been prepared to nearly flight-ready status but will not be used for flight. The potential STS-135 would use this prepared and paid-for hardware to fly a full operational mission. Mission planners anticipate STS-135 would fly four crew members and a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch could occur after STS-134, in early 2011. Because STS-135 would not have its own shuttle-based LON mission, two Russian Soyuz spacecraft would be used in the event a crew rescue is needed.

STS-132 Launch Timeline

May 14, 2010 12:52 by scibuff

The milestones of STS-132 Space Shuttle Atlantis launch (reverse order) – See the mission details and more photos in my STS-132 Space Shuttle Atlantis post

~ 19:29:54 GMT @ T+09:45 – Nominal MECO, OMS-1 not required. With a direct insertion ascent, the main engines are burned slightly longer to achieve the desired apogee altitude, such that an OMS-1 maneuver (which would supply the additional thrust needed to reach orbit) is not required.

External Tank separation

External Tank (ET) separation - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:28:42 GMT @ T+08:33 – External Tank (ET) separation.

External Tank separation

External Tank (ET) separation - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:28:38 GMT @ T+08:29 – Zero Thrust.

– 19:28:32 GMT @ T+08:23 – Main Engine Cut-off (MECO). Atlantis has reach the planned orbit and is schedule to dock with the International Space Station on Flight Day 3.

Main Engine Cut-off

Main Engine Cut-off (MECO) - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:27:49 GMT @ T+07:40 – Negative Istres.

– 19:27:28 GMT @ T+07:19 – Negative Moron.

– 19:26:36 GMT @ T+06:27 – Press to MECO and Single Engine Zaragoza 104 – Atlantis can now reach planned orbit in case of a single SSME failure and the Zaragoza TAL site on a single engine at 104.5% throttle.

– 19:25:37 GMT @ T+05:28 – Single Engine OPS-3 – Atlantis could now reach the designated TAL site with a single engine at Full Power Level (FPL), i.e 109% throttle, should two of the SSME‘s fail (the OPS-3 software mode will be used for re-entry) – Prior to this point, the loss of two engines requires contingency abort procedures and OPS 6 software.

– 19:24:51 GMT @ T+04:42 – Press to ATO select Zaragoza – Atlantis could now reach a safe orbit (circular / 194.5 km) with two Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) throttled at Typical Mission Power Level (104.5%) in case of a single SSME failure. Should one of the engines fail the crew could execute the Abort To Orbit (ATO) maneuver (in case of TAL abort, the landing facility in Zaragoza would be used).

– 19:24:04 GMT @ T+03:55 – Negative Return – Atlantis has used too much fuel and is traveling too fast (8,526 km/h), too high (87.7 km) and is too far (147.6 km) to return to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for a potential Return To Launch Site (RTLS) abort.

19:23:52 GMT @ T+02:43 – 2 engine Istres. Atlantis can now reach the Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site in Istres in the case of a single engine failure.

19:22:42 GMT @ T+02:33 – 2 engine Zaragoza. Atlantis can now reach the TAL site in Zaragoza in the case of a single engine failure.

19:22:38 GMT @ T+02:29 – 2 engine Moron. Atlantis can now reach the TAL site in Moron in the case of a single engine failure.

– 19:22:23 GMT @ T+02:14 – Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) assist.

– 19:22:13 GMT @ T+02:04Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) separation. Atlantis is at the altitude of 47.18 km, 44.57 km down range from the KSC, traveling at 5 022.7 km/h (Mach 4.1).

Solid Rocket Booster separation

Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) separation - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:21:09 GMT @ T+01:00 – Max-Q (the point of the greatest dynamic pressure).

– 19:20:54 GMT @ T+00:45 –Throttle up back to 104.5% engine power level.

– 19:20:52 GMT @ T+00:43 – Mach 1.

– 19:20:42 GMT @ T+00:33 – Throttle down from 104.5% to 72.0% engine power level at Mach 0.9.

– 19:20:27 GMT @ T+00:18 – Roll maneuver finished.

– 19:20:20 GMT @ T+00:11 – Start the roll program.

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis on its last scheduled flight into space - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:20:09 GMT @ T-00:00 – Lift-off. Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) ignition and lift-off of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-132 (ISS assembly flight ULF4) mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) ignite

The three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) ignite - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:20:02 GMT @ T-00:06.6 (and 06.48, 06.36) – The three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) start.

The hydrogen burn-off system activated

The hydrogen burn-off system begins to eliminate free hydrogen - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:20:00 GMT @ T-00:09 – The hydrogen burn-off system begins to eliminate free hydrogen exhausted into the main engine nozzles during the start sequence to prevent small, but potentially dangerous, explosions when the main engines ignite.

– 19:19:54 GMT @ T-00:15 – The Sound Suppression Water System has been activated to protect Atlantis and the launch pad from acoustical energy and rocket exhaust reflected from the flame trench and Mobile Launcher Platform during launch.

– 19:19:38 GMT: @ T-00:31 – Auto-sequence start. Atlantis’ on-board computers have primary control of all vehicle’s critical functions.

19:18:09 GMT: Crew members close and lock their visors.

19:15:09 GMT: Start auxiliary power units.

19:12:39 GMT: Retract orbiter access arm.

T-9 minutes and counting

T-9 minutes and counting, all systems are Go for launch - Credit: NASA TV

19:11:09 GMT: The countdown clock resumes at T-9min and counting.

T-20 minutes and holding

The countdown clock holds at T-20 minutes - Credit: NASA TV

17:06 GMT: The countdown clock holds at T-20 minutes.

The Closeout Crew closes Atlantis' hatch

The Closeout Crew closes Atlantis' hatch - Credit: NASA TV

– Shuttle Atlantis’ hatch has been closed and latched for flight, the six STS-132 astronauts are strapped into their seats.

T - 3 hours

The countdown clock stops at T-3hr for a 2 and half hour planned hold - Credit: NASA

The countdown clock resumes at T-3hr and counting.

The Astrovan heading to Launch Pad 39A

The Astrovan heading to Launch Pad 39A with Atlantis' astronauts - Credit: NASA/Rick Fischer

The STS-132 crew leaves the crew quarters at the Operations and Checkout Building and board the Astrovan to head to the Pad 39A.

STS-132 astronauts walk out

The STS-132 astronauts walk out of NASA Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Checkout Building, ready to ride to Launch Pad 39A - Credit: NASA

Final inspection team is on the pad looking for ice & frost buildup on the External Tank.

Final Inspection Team (FIT) at the Pad

Final Inspection Team (FIT) at the Pad checking for Ice/frost buildup on fuel tank or other debris hazards - Credit: NASA TV

12:54 GMT: The shuttle tanking went into a stable replenish and the countdown entered a 2.5 hour long inbuilt hold at T-3 hours. Count to pick up at 15:24 GMT

– The liquid hydrogen tanking has reached 98% and will transition from fast-full to top-off at 2700 l per minute.

– Liquid oxygen tanking changes to fast-fill mode at almost 6,000 l per minute. Liquid hydrogen is also in fast-fill phase adding almost 32,000 liters every minute into the external tank (ET).

– Launch teams began liquid oxygen tanking in the slow-fill phase adding 1,200 liters every minute.

10:55 GMT: Fueling of the External Tank began with liquid hydrogen (at 20K) started in the slow-fill mode. Liquid oxygen (at 90.188 K) will follow at 11:25 GMT.

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Discovery is Home

April 20, 2010 15:07 by scibuff

The space shuttle Discovery landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Space Shuttle Discovery landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a 15-day mission and 238 orbits of Earth. Discovery’s main gear touched down at 13:08:35 GMT, followed by the nose gear at 13:08:47 GMT and wheelstop at 13:09:33 GMT.

Discovery STS-131 Mission Landing

The space shuttle Discovery is seen as it lands at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Discovery and the STS-131 mission crew, Commander Alan G. Poindexter, Pilot James P. Dutton Jr. and Mission Specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki returned from their mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

STS-131 was the 131st space shuttle mission, the 38th for Discovery and the 33rd shuttle mission to the International Space Station. It was the second flight of 2010. It is Discovery’s penultimate mission; its last flight is STS-133, targeted for Sept. 16.

STS-131 Landing

Homecoming The space shuttle Discovery is seen as it lands at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Discovery and the STS-131 mission crew--Commander Alan G. Poindexter, pilot James P. Dutton Jr. and mission specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki--returned from their mission to the International Space Station - Credit: Naoki KASHIWADANI