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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 June 15, 2009 02:34 PM



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