July 10, 2009
The STS-127 launch that was postponed from June because of a hydrogen leak, is on schedule for launch Saturday, July 11, at 7:39 PM Eastern time.
However, the weather gives Endeavour only a 40 percent chance of actually launching because of the usual summer afternoon thunderstorms. The storms have to be at least twenty-three miles away from the landing strip in case of an abort. The launch window is open for 4 days. If the weather does not cooperate, the next window opens July 27.
This flight, like all the remaining shuttle flights, is headed to the International Space Station (ISS). The primary goal of the 16-day mission is to deliver and install the "back porch" of the Japanese Kibo ("Hope") module during 5 spacewalks.
The crew of 7 is commanded by Mark Polansky. The pilot is rookie Douglas Hurley. Mission specialists are Canadian flight engineer Julie Payette, David Wolf, Christopher Cassidy, and Thomas Marshburn. Space station flight engineer, Timothy Kopra, will replace Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata who is currently on the ISS.
Here's hoping the STS-127 crew gets to celebrate the Apollo 40th anniversary in space, matching (for the fourth time) the record of 13 people in space at once. This will be the first time all 13 people will be on the same spacecraft. (March 2009 had Discovery crew of 7, ISS crew of 3, and Soyuz crew of 3 at once, and 1995 and 1997 records counted separate American and Russian craft as well.) I only wish those 13 people were together on the Moon! Maybe by the 50th anniversary?
To the stars,
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Posted by m_dyson at July 10, 2009 06:18 PM