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T-Minus 10 Seconds [02/18]

STS-116 Discovery (OV-103) [+]
Launch: NET 09-December
Launch: 08:47:34PM EST | 01:47:34UT (10-Dec)
Launch Pad: 39B
Mission Duration: 12 Days
Landing: TBD
Landing Site: KSC
Inclination: 51.6 degrees
Altitude: 122 nautical miles
Primary Payload: 12A.1, P5 Truss, SPACEHAB

 • Missions • STS-116 • Shuttle Main • Crew • Mission • ISS Manifest • ISS Elements • {Shuttle News Feed}----

STS-116 crew: Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot William Oefelein, Mission specialist Robert Curbeam, Mission specialist Joan Higginbotham, Mission specialist Nicholas Patrick, Mission specialist Christer Fuglesang (ESA, Sweden). Launching ISS Expedition 14 Crew: Flight Engineer Sunita Williams; Landing ISS Expedition 13 Crew: Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter (ESA, Germany) + Polansky piloted STS-98 delivering Destiny Laboratory Module, which was also Curbeam's 2nd mission. think Fuglesang is the first & only astronaut from Sweden.

+ Official Countdown Clock + Why Two Clocks? + Launch Blog + Countdown 101 + Launch Team + TAL Sites

+ NOAA KTIX + Weather Underground

+ NASA TV + Public Channel (QT) + NASA TV Schedule + STS-116 Preflight Briefing Materials

Shuttle Mission STS-116: A Hard Wire Job :: [22-Sep] NASA has said it over and over again: The coming missions to finish the International Space Station are among the hardest and most complex ever. But if you ask the astronauts and engineers which of the final 14 assembly flights may be the most complex, many would point to Discovery's next mission, set to launch in December. "What makes this one singularly unique is the fact that we're going to rewire the space station," Mark Polansky, Discovery's commander, said.

Preparations Continue for Discovery, STS-116 Crew :: [15-Oct] The STS-116 crew members visited NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week for the crew equipment interface test. The test is a routine part of astronaut training and launch preparations, and allows astronauts to get hands-on with the equipment and flight hardware that will be used during the mission. + View Small Image | + View Larger Image

Discovery Gets a Boost :: [31-Oct] The orbiter Discovery rolled out of the Orbiter Processing Facility bay 3 for the short move to the Vehicle Assembly Building at 9:23 p.m., Tuesday evening. Inside the VAB, the orbiter has been mated to its large external tank and twin solid rocket boosters already stacked on the mobile launcher platform. Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to roll out to Launch Pad 39B no earlier than Nov. 7. + View Small Image | + View Larger Image

Rollout Scheduled for Thursday :: [06-Nov] Now fully assembled inside Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building, Space Shuttle Discovery is set to begin the 4.2-mile trip to Launch Pad 39B at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9. The orbiter Discovery rolled into the Vehicle Assembly Building last week. Inside the VAB, the orbiter was mated to its large external tank and twin solid rocket boosters, which were already stacked on the mobile launcher platform. The STS-116 mission is No. 20 to the International Space Station and construction flight 12A.1. The mission payload is the SPACEHAB module, the P5 integrated truss structure and other key components. The launch window for mission STS-116 opens Dec. 7.

Flight Readiness Review Wraps Up Today :: [29-Nov] NASA managers will conclude the traditional Flight Readiness Review this afternoon at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The review is a two-day assessment of preparations for Discovery's mission and is designed to produce a number of key decisions about the assembly flight, including selection of an official launch date. A post-review press conference is set for 3 p.m. EST. If the decision is made to proceed for the opening of the launch window, the seven-member crew will arrive for launch at the Shuttle Landing Facility the afternoon of Dec. 3 for launch on Dec. 7. The STS-116 mission will be the 20th flight to the International Space Station. + Watch NASA TV

It's Official: Discovery is Go for Launch on Dec. 7 :: [29-Nov] NASA senior managers have wrapped up the two-day flight readiness review at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At a press conference immediately following the review, William Gerstenmaier, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations, announced Dec. 7 as the launch date for the STS-116 mission to the International Space Station. Gerstenmaier was joined at the briefing by Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale and Launch Director Mike Leinbach. Hale pointed out that the launch team had been asked to aim for a launch on Dec. 7 rather than the original target date of Dec. 14. "I am as proud of the team as I could be for advancing the date, but even more proud of them for doing the work properly and making sure we are safe," Hale commented. "From the processing perspective we feel really, really good about Dec. 7," Leinbach agreed. The Shuttle Mission Management Team conducts the review two weeks prior to the opening of the launch window for each space shuttle mission. The group thoroughly evaluates all activities and elements necessary for the safe and successful performance of shuttle mission operations -- from the prelaunch phase through post-landing -- including the readiness of the vehicle, flight crew and payloads. The launch window for the STS-116 mission opens on Dec. 7 and extends through Dec. 17. The seven-member flight crew will arrive for launch at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility the afternoon of Dec. 3. Primary payloads on the 12-day mission are the P5 integrated truss segment, SPACEHAB single logistics module and an integrated cargo carrier. The STS-116 mission will be the 20th flight to the station. + View Certificate of Flight Readiness

The Countdown is On :: [05-Dec] The STS-116 launch countdown began at 11 p.m. EST Monday at the T-43 hour mark. Included in the countdown are nearly 28 hours of built-in hold time prior to liftoff at 9:35 p.m. launch on Thursday. At Launch Pad 39B, Space Shuttle Discovery is safely enveloped by the pad's rotating service structure, which protects the shuttle assembly from the elements while providing access for technicians. The structure will be rolled back to the "park" position early Thursday morning, revealing the shuttle poised for launch. The STS-116 mission is the 33rd for Discovery and the 117th space shuttle flight. + View STS-116 Photos

Mission Management Team Update :: [05-Dec] The countdown is proceeding on the right timeline for Thursday night's launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-116 mission, according to NASA's Mission Management Team, which met today at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At a Tuesday evening press conference, Space Shuttle Program Launch Integration Manager LeRoy Cain pointed out the challenge faced by the processing team that has prepared Discovery for its second flight since July, and praised the team for their hard work. "The preparation of the vehicle and teams has been outstanding," Cain said. "It's consistent with what the team has been doing time after time, case after case, problem after problem." Two new issues are under investigation tonight: the adhesive on a reusable solid rocket motor's pressure seal, and a brief rise in voltage in a mobile launcher platform power supply unit connected to the orbiter. Cain stated that more data is needed, and that employees are working to understand and resolve the issues. At this time, though, launch is still on schedule for Thursday at 9:35 p.m. EST. The weather forecast is another matter. A cold front is expected to pass through the launch area during the day on Thursday, possibly bringing lingering cloud cover behind it, according to U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kaleb Nordgren of the 45th Weather Squadron. Because of this possibility, the chance of weather cooperating for liftoff is 60%. A strong pressure gradient behind that front will bring windy conditions to Kennedy on Friday and Saturday, so launch attempts on those days would be met with only a 40% chance of favorable weather. The launch countdown began at 11 p.m. Monday at the T-43 hour mark. Included in the countdown are nearly 28 hours of built-in hold time prior to a targeted 9:35 p.m. EST launch on Thursday.

External Tank Loading is Complete :: [07-Dec] Space Shuttle Discovery's orange external tank has been loaded with 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and hydrogen. These propellants power the orbiter's trio of main engines during the entire ride to space. The loading process, called "tanking," began at 11:30 a.m. EST and ended at approximately 2:30 p.m. The tank will be continuously "topped off" during the remainder of today's countdown. No technical issues are in work at this point, but there's a 60 percent chance of weather prohibiting a liftoff at 9:35 p.m. EST. A cold front moving through the area is expected to bring with it a lingering blanket of clouds and isolated light rain. The team will press on with the countdown for now, in case the weather cooperates after all. Across the space center, in the Operations and Checkout Building's crew quarters, the astronauts are making their final launch preparations. At 5:45 p.m., after breakfast, a weather briefing and suiting up, they'll board the silver Astrovan and leave for the launch pad amid the cheers of Kennedy employees. + Discovery on Launch Pad 39B (Hi-res)

Crew Boards Discovery :: [07-Dec|07:22pm EST] With the help of the Closeout Crew and Astronaut Support Personnel, the STS-116 crew members are taking their seats inside Space Shuttle Discovery as the vehicle awaits liftoff at 9:35 p.m. EST. Once in place, the crew will begin powering up Discovery's systems and getting the ship configured for launch. There are no technical concerns being addressed with Space Shuttle Discovery. The vehicle, crew and the mission's payloads are ready to fly. + Commander Mark Polansky takes his seat inside the orbiter

Launch Blog :: [07-Dec|08:06pm EST] Our launch time for this evening has been recalculated, and the preferred launch time for this evening is 9:35:48 p.m. This time will be fine-tuned once again during the T-9 minute hold.

Launch Blog :: [07-Dec|09:02pm EST] Weather update: The transatlantic abort landing site at Zaragoza, Spain is "go," but the ceiling at Kennedy Space Center is currently too low, putting weather here into the "no-go" category for now.

Launch Blog :: [07-Dec|09:22pm EST] Launch Director Mike Leinbach has completed his final launch poll. He wished Commander Polansky and the crew "good luck and Godspeed," with the hope that weather will improve and allow a launch tonight.

Launch Blog :: [07-Dec|09:22pm EST] Launch Director Mike Leinbach has completed his final launch poll. He wished Commander Polansky and the crew "good luck and Godspeed," with the hope that weather will improve and allow a launch tonight.

Launch Blog :: [07-Dec|09:35pm EST] We have exceeded our launch window for today, and without clear, convincing evidence of favorable weather, tonight's launch attempt has been scrubbed.

Uncooperative Weather Forces Launch Postponement to Saturday :: [07-Dec|10:15pm EST] The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery was scrubbed Thursday after poor weather conditions spoiled the attempt at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Earlier in the day a cold front moved in over the spaceport, bringing clouds and winds into the area. The cloud ceiling proved to be too low for a safe launch, prompting NASA to postpone Discovery's flight. NASA officials have set the next launch attempt for 8:47 p.m. EST on Dec. 9. + NASA officials review information during Thursday's liftoff attempt (High-res)

NASASpaceflight :: Main | Forum Main | Discovery (STS-116) | STS-116 (STS-301) Processing | STS-117 (STS-318) Processing

NASASpaceflight :: STS-318 supporting Discovery as LON, NET (No Earlier Than) Feb 9. STS-117 NET Feb 22. This mission is rumoured to be slipping due to ET delay, which could affect the December launch of Discovery on STS-116.

NASASpaceflight :: Discovery's second flight of the year, STS-116, may only have three days of opportunity to launch, due to concerns over how the orbiter's software will cope when 2006 turns to 2007 whilst in orbit. Fuelled by a "wish" to keep overtime costs down during the Christmas and New Year holidays, the NET (No Earlier Than) December 14 could postpone the International Space Station assembly flight to next year if Discovery fails to launch within the window. STS-116 will be the 117th Shuttle mission and twentieth station flight (12A.1), carrying the P5 Truss and SPACEHAB to the outpost. The mission was set to have a short window - around seven days, but three days will be restrictive to getting Discovery off the pad. A note, acquired by sources, claims: 'Year End Roll-Over (YERO) STS-116 Evaluation - JSC's (Johnson Space Center) YERO team has been recalled to investigate the possibility of flying STS-116 over the year end this December.

NASASpaceflight :: STS-116 launch window may be reduced • NASA draws up STS-116 troubleshoot (YERO) • Accelerated launch schedule is ambitious • Atlantis suffered major MMOD hit • Crack in Discovery's landing gear repaired • STS-125/Hubble may switch to Atlantis • YERO will likely restrict STS-116 window • Interviews with STS-116 crew • Christer Fuglesangs newsletter • Discovery's Rollover to the VAB

NASA working two issues ahead of STS-116 :: [05-Dec] Tuesday's L-2 Mission Management Team (MMT) has found two issues that require further evaluations, ahead of Shuttle Discovery's Thursday's launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. S0007 Launch Countdown Operations are proceeding, although two issues, one with orbiter power and another with test results on the Solid Rocket Motor J Seal, will require further evaluations at Wednesday's L-1 MMT. Flight Director Leroy Cain noted that at present Discovery is on the timeline in the countdown for the Thursday night launch at 9:35pm local time, with cryogenic loading set to take place tonight. While the L-2 MMT proceeded relatively smoothly, two issues remain outstanding [...] 'One of the issues happened overnight, where we had a condition out at the pad with the vehicle and the power systems. We were adjusting the power from the MLP (Mobile Launch Platform) to the orbiter and there was a transient - or erratic condition, which put a voltage condition on the main A Bus on the orbiter that resulted in that Bus coming off line and being shared by the other two Buses - Main B and Main C. 'We don't yet know what some of the systems on the orbiter saw, as the guys have not had a chance to go look at the data, so they are going to do that. We do know - in the case of the other elements - such as the External Tank, Solid Rocket Boosters and main engines, that we don't have any issues with those due to the configuration they were in at the time of this transient condition. 'Because the transient was very short lived - less than half of a second - that we're probably not going to have any issues with that.' Engineers and technicians are checking Discovery at present to gain more data on the incident. The resulting information will be presented to Wednesday's T-1 MMT. 'The second issue is with the Solid Rocket Motor, relating to the plies that are on the joint (J Seal). 'There is a pressure sensitive application - adhesive if you will - and there may be an issue with one of the poll tests for this specific adhesive material. We don't know the details of it yet. We don't know if it will be any kind of restraint or issue that we have to talk about beyond what we'll hear tomorrow when we get more information.

NASA clear voltage spike issue :: [06-Dec] NASA managers - who had been meeting on Wednesday to evaluate the over-volt condition that occurred just after the start of the countdown this week - have cleared Discovery for flight. The concern over the Solid Rocket Booster adhesive has also been cleared. The spike (see image below) was "small" and only for 0.434 seconds, caused by Ground Support - namely the Mobile Launch Platform. Managers also used historical records from STS-87 to aid their evaluations. [over-volt]

Weather scrubs Discovery's first attempt :: [07-Dec] The only notes of interest earlier in the day were workers being temporarily stuck in a lift at the launch pad, a waiver being called for a Landing Load Requirement - after two crewmembers have weighed in overweight - and a virus concern on the NASA e-mail system [+] Also being sent around NASA e-mails is a virus concern, where workers are being told not to send attachments, but to copy and paste notes into the body of their e-mails. It is not yet known at this time how this could affect launch preparations, with sources noting this is more an inconvenience than a constraint, despite the serious wording of the e-mail. 'Message From Wayne Hale - Email Issue. This is a first story so please bear with me. Apparently Microsoft has alerted the agency CIO that there is a new trojan horse that attaches itself to emails with .doc attachments. This is reported to have severe impacts. The agency CIO wants to turn on software to strip off all .doc attachments off of emails. We need to know if this is a severe mission impact or if people can live for at least...a few days with cutting and pasting the body of text out of .doc documents into the body of their emails. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. Please evaluate and respond immediately.'

STS-116: LIVE LAUNCH UPDATES - Attempt 2 - Dec 9 :: [08-Dec] Second attempt, although the weather seems pretty bad until an attempt on Tuesday. This attempt will have an MMT meeting to discuss whether to tank or not. As with attempt 1, we'll be running live updates regardless. Schedule for Saturday, local time.

Spaceflight Now :: Main | STS-116 | Launch Schedule | Launch Windows | Flight Plan | Quick-Look | Launch/Landing Chart

Spaceflight Now :: NASA managers today agreed to move up the target launch date for the shuttle Discovery and mission STS-116 from Dec. 14 to Dec. 7 at roughly 9:38 p.m. EST. Agency managers have not yet formally relaxed a post-Columbia daylight launch constraint, but that issue will be discussed at the next program requirements change board meeting Oct. 5 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Still unresolved is conflict with a Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket carrying a military payload that currently is scheduled for launch Dec. 7 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Engineers troubleshoot last-minute shuttle issues :: [05-Dec] After a lengthy launch-minus-two-day review, NASA managers tonight tentatively cleared the shuttle Discovery for liftoff Thursday night, weather permitting, pending resolution of two last-minute technical issues. The issues do not appear to be show stoppers, but engineers are collecting additional data to make sure [...] Discovery will not be formally cleared for launch until engineers resolve two last-minute issues that were left open at the end of the L-minus two-day review: A brief, half-second electrical transient was noted early today when engineers were configuring the shuttle's electrical power systems for launch. Cain said he asked engineers to work through the night to collect data showing whether the brief surge could have caused problems for any of the electrical systems in the orbiter, the external tank or the ship's twin solid-fuel boosters. Cain said a preliminary assessment indicates the shuttle's systems were not affected by the transient, but additional data is needed to make sure. A recent engineering test uncovered a potential issue with an adhesive used to bond insulation in the joints between solid-fuel booster segments. The adhesive is associated with so-called J-seals, a post Challenger safety improvement, but Cain said the test results were new and not yet fully understood. Engineers are studying the test data to determine if there are any concerns about the joints in Discovery's boosters. "With respect to the solid motor joint adhesive, I don't think I would even call it suspect because I don't know enough to be able to even put an adjective or a characterization of it," Cain said. "What we know is there is a test out there, or the results of a test, we need to look further at to determine whether or not we have any concerns. That's really and truly where we are. We don't even know enough to know if we have a concern. ... I wouldn't want to speculate, really, on either one of those problems as to where they might lead, but you can be certain we'll follow the data." {weather} Forecasters now say a cold front expected to pass through Central Florida Thursday has a 40 percent chance of leaving low clouds in its wake that could cause a delay. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is 60 percent no-go both days. NASA's scrub/turnaround options permit seven launch attempts between Dec. 7 and Dec. 17, the end of the currently approved launch window. A launch on Dec. 17 would result in a landing before the end of the year and still provide two contingency days for bad weather or other problems. Launches after Dec. 17 are possible - the station's orbit permits launchings as late as Dec. 26 - but NASA managers would have to agree on flying Discovery over the new year transition if it came to that. In any case, the launch team's normal scrub-turnaround policy calls for four launch attempts in five days - Dec. 7, 8, 10 and 11. That includes one 48-hour stand down to top off on-board supplies of liquid hydrogen between the second and fourth attempts. After that, alternating hydrogen and oxygen top-offs would result in launch opportunities Dec. 13, 15 and 17.

Mission Status Center (Live) [07-Dec|8:25pm EST] :: The current cloud ceiling at KSC is now "go" for launch. At the moment, there are no weather constraints here at the Cape. But the overseas weather at the emergency landing sites remains a factor. Meanwhile, the launch team has been briefed on today's launch window and countdown procedures. The window opens at 9:30:48 and closes at 9:40:48 p.m. The target liftoff time remains 9:35:48 p.m.

Discovery launch delayed to Saturday [07-Dec] :: After a nail-biting, down-to-the-wire countdown, launch director Mike Leinbach called off an attempt to launch the shuttle Discovery tonight on a critical space station mission because of low, thickening clouds [potential impact on a return-to-launch-site abort] over the Kennedy Space Center. "We gave it our best shot and did not get clear and convincing evidence in the end that the cloud-ceiling rule would clear enough or us," Leinbach radioed the astronauts at 9:36 p.m. "So we're going to have declare a scrub at this time. Appreciate your support and we'll come up with a scrub-turnaround plan for you." "We understand," commander Mark Polansky replied from Discovery's flight deck. "Thank the team for all their hard work, try not to be too disappointed. We will be ready to support the next time we get a chance." [forecast] 90% "no-go" Friday; Saturday 70% "no-go"; Sunday/Monday improving slightly; Tuesday 60% "go". Launch managers also were concerned about the weather at emergency runways in Spain and France. As it turned out, the rain in Spain appeared within limits and conditions in Florida were deemed acceptable for an RTLS, should an emergency be declared shortly after launch. But during a hold at the T-minus nine-minute mark, weather officers decided a low deck of clouds over the space center was too thick, violating launch commit criteria [...] The shuttle's overall launch periord extends through Dec. 26. But NASA managers want to launch Discovery before Dec. 17 if at all possible to avoid having the shuttle in orbit on New Year's day. [+] Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL)

Weather forecast remains poor for Discovery launch [08-Dec] :: Shuttle weather officers are continuing to predict a 70 percent chance of bad weather for Saturday's attempt to launch Discovery on a space station assembly mission. "High pressure is migrating into the Eastern US, increasing the pressure gradient over Central Florida; therefore, cool, windy conditions will affect Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Friday," according to the official forecast. "By Saturday, winds will gradually decrease as the high pressure area migrates east, but Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) crosswinds worsen as the winds continue to turn northeast. "Also, the easterly flow causes concern for low clouds and isolated showers. Our primary concerns for launch day are SLF crosswinds, a low cloud ceiling, and isolated showers." The Spaceflight Meteorology Group at the Johnson Space Center in Houston predicts scattered clouds at 3,000 and 20,000 feet with a chance for broken clouds at 3,000 feet and showers within 20 nautical miles - both violations of NASA's flight safety rules. Winds will be out of 40 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 18, translating into a 16-knot crosswind - another violation - on the shuttle's emergency runway.

Florida Today Space :: Main | The Flame Trench | Spaceport | Web Cams | Launch Database

The Flame Trench :: Dec. 7 launch date for Discovery gets OK ~ Shuttle managers agreed today that they can meet a processing schedule that would move the opening of Discovery's next launch window a week earlier, to Dec. 7. The launch time would be 9:38 p.m. EST, the first night launch in four years. The damage to an external tank umbilical door on Discovery, reported earlier today (see below), is not expected to have an impact on the launch date, and no other issues are looming at this time. However, a Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket carrying a defense payload is already scheduled on the Eastern Range for the evening of Dec. 7. The vehicles can't launch on the same day; a two-day turnaround between launches is customary.


[07-Dec|08:21pm EST]

In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.


Pisces 10° As a tiny fleck of dust in the sky an aviator sails across the horizon in absolute mastery of these higher realms.

asteroid #1492-OPPOLZER {10PI00} on Cycle #39.


Tags: launch, nasa, sts-116, t-minus

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