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June 17, 2009

STS-127 Postponed to July

Another hydrogen leak caused NASA to scrub the launch of Endeavour until July 11.

So the STS-127 crew will be returning to Houston to continue training and Koichi Wakata will have another month to enjoy the view from orbit and wait for his ride home.

If the folks gathered to watch the shuttle launch stick around a few days, they will hopefully get to see an Atlas 5 send LRO on its way to the Moon--assuming the weather cooperates.

Going to space is never easy, but it is definitely worth the effort!

Marianne Dyson
NSS Advisor

Posted by m_dyson at 02:11 AM

June 15, 2009

Shuttle Attempt Wed-LRO Delayed

Shuttle managers bumped LRO from its launch slot on Wednesday to give the Shuttle Endeavour another opportunity to launch after Saturday's scrub.

If the Shuttle launch proceeds, it will be at 5:40 a.m. EDT, June 17. There is another opportunity on Thursday if weather is a problem--and is possible until June 20--but that would push LRO beyond its window (which is tied to the lunar cycle and closes on June 20) and into July. If the Shuttle does not launch this week, the next chance will be July 11 because of thermal constraints on the space station.

LRO managers are looking at ways to shorten the turnaround time so that if Endeavour does launch on Wednesday morning, they can launch on Thursday at 5:12 p.m. But usually, it takes two days for the Air Force to reconfigure the tracking and telemetry support--so the nominal plan puts the LRO launch on Friday at 6:41 p.m.

STS-127's primary objective is to deliver and install the Japanese module's "back porch," replace some batteries, and exchange Koichi Wakata with Timothy Kopra. While docked, with a crew of 6 on the station and 7 on the Shuttle, there will be 13 people in space.

LRO will map the resources of the Moon in new detail from just 31 miles altitude.

To the stars,

Marianne Dyson
NSS advisor, Space Books Committee Chairman

Posted by m_dyson at 02:34 PM

June 13, 2009

Shuttle Delayed-LRO Still Go

The Space Shuttle Endeavour launch was scrubbed because of a hydrogen leak. It takes time to turnaround the shuttle, and the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) is scheduled for launch Wednesday June 17. It also takes time to turnaround the range after the launch on Wednesday, so the earliest next attempt will be before dawn next Saturday, June 20.

Unfortunately, if weather or another problem scrubs that attempt, the launch will slip until July 11 because of temperature constraints during docked operations at the space station.

The LRO has a window every two weeks, but slipping it would cause a backlog of other satellites waiting to launch. The LRO launch, on an Atlas 5, is scheduled for 3:51 p.m. EDT.

Maybe it is time to get other launch sites up and running!

While you're waiting for launch, why not catch up on your summer reading? Find some great new titles via the NSS Reading Space:

To the stars,

Marianne Dyson
NSS Advisor

Posted by m_dyson at 01:51 PM

June 03, 2009

Next Launch June 13

NASA announced that the Space Shuttle Endeavour is on track to launch on Saturday, June 13 at 7:17 a.m. Eastern time. The orbiter was moved from pad 39B where it was on tap to support a Hubble rescue, to 39A. 39B is being readied for the Ares I flight test later this summer.

STS-127's main objectives are to install the "porch" on the Japanese Kibo module, swap out batteries, and deliver spare parts. The commander is Mark Polansky, pilot Douglas Hurley, and mission specialists are Julie Payette, David Wolf, Christopher Cassidy, Thomas Marshburn and space station flight engineer Timothy Kopra--who will replace Koichi Wakata.

The launch window is only 3 days long because of the scheduled launch on June 17 of the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO). Additional opportunities exist on June 19 and 20, but then the window closes until July 11 because of temperature constraints.

The flight is planned to be 16 days long and include 5 space walks.

Let's hope for some clear skies for June 13!

Marianne Dyson
NSS Advisor

Posted by m_dyson at 11:51 PM


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