STS-114 Mission Journal  

STS-114 Mission Journal - Part 1

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NASA portrait of the STS-114 crew.
SHUTTLE UPDATE:
DISCOVERY LANDS!
NASA image of the STS-114 mission patch.
LEFT: (L-R) Robinson, Kelly, Thomas, Lawrence, Camarda, Collins, Noguchi
RIGHT: STS-114 Mission Patch.

  • 22 July 2005 - Friday - Things are looking up for Discovery's launch next week. NASA reports:

    Discovery's Crew Returns for July 26 Launch
    Commander Eileen Collins and members of the STS-114 crew talk to the media after landing at Kennedy Space Center. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1638The crew of Space Shuttle Discovery has returned to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., for the July 26 launch of NASA's Return to Flight mission. The roar of T-38 training jets trumpeted the arrival of Commander Eileen Collins and her team as they flew into the spaceport's Shuttle Landing Facility. The seven astronauts will spend the next five days in Florida making final preparations for Tuesday's flight to the International Space Station.
    Liftoff of Discovery is scheduled for 10:39 a.m. EDT on Tuesday. The flight is a 12-day mission to deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station.

    Updated mission timeline here.


  • 20 July 2005 - Wednesday - As we celebrate the 36th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (and the 6th birthday of NewsFromSpace), we also celebrate the resumption of the Return To Flight countdown. NASA reports:

    Launch Countdown to Begin Saturday, July 23
    Bill Drier, NASA technician, performs a test on wiring in the aft engine compartment on Space Shuttle Discovery. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1616NASA officials have announced plans to the begin the countdown to a July 26 launch of Space Shuttle Discovery. The countdown will start Saturday, with a test of the External Tank to follow early on launch day. If all goes well with the test, the countdown will continue to liftoff at 10:39 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.
    In the meantime, technicians will work with grounding wiring associated with the liquid hydrogen engine cutoff sensor system, as well as adjust the configuration of components within Discovery's point sensor box. During a briefing held after a mission managers meeting, NASA Space Shuttle Program Manager Bill Parsons said "We've all agreed that this work is doable, and that it all takes us to a launch on the 26th" (+ View Press Release).
    The engine cutoff sensors are mounted at the bottom of the External Tank and trigger the orbiter's engines to shutdown in the event liquid hydrogen levels run expectedly low. The system failed a routine pre-launch check during the countdown on July 13, causing NASA to postpone Discovery's first launch attempt. (+ View Sensor Graphics)
    The window to launch Discovery to the International Space Station extends through July 31.

    Mission details will be posted as they become available.


  • 19 July 2005 - Tuesday - Trying to get Discovery off the ground... NASA reports:

    Launch at Least One Week Away
    NASA engineer testing fuel sensor. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1580NASA is targeting Tuesday, July 26 as the earliest possible date to launch the Space Shuttle Discovery on the Return to Flight mission (STS-114). The determination was made during Monday's meeting of the Mission Management Team (MMT) at Kennedy. Engineers are working through a troubleshooting plan to address an issue with a liquid hydrogen low-level fuel sensor circuit. The sensor circuit failed a routine pre-launch check during the countdown July 13, delaying Discovery's first launch attempt.
    NASA is still working to launch Discovery by the end of the July window that extends to the 31st.

    Prelaunch pics here.


  • 18 July 2005 - Monday - NASA personnel are working feverishly to resolve Discovery's fuel sensor issue. NASA reports:

    July 26 Targeted as Earliest Launch Date
    Seen from across a marsh near Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B, Space Shuttle Discovery is largely hidden by the Rotating Service Structure. The ball-shaped structure at left is a 850,000-gallon storage tank for the cryogenic liquid hydrogen, one of the propellants of the Space Shuttle's three main engines. To the right of the pad is the 290-foot-tall water tower that holds 300,000 gallons of water, part of the sound suppression system during a launch. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1568Space Shuttle Program managers have continued working through the weekend to determine the failure of an Engine Cut-Off sensor problem that delayed Discovery's first launch attempt. (+ View Graphics)
    At a news conference late Monday afternoon, Bill Parsons, Space Shuttle Program Manager announced that troubleshooting is continuing around the clock
    Program Deputy Manager Wayne Hale explained "This team is persistent and energetic and we will conquer this problem too. Once the problem is resolved the next opportunity to tank the vehicle would be Tuesday, the 26th of July."
    Hale is hopeful that this week the problem could be identified and NASA managers are still optimistic about a launch within the current window, which ends July 31.

    The July 31 date would be the latest they could launch during the day - NASA wants to have daylight to observe any possible damage to Discovery as it climbs to orbit and a rendezvous with the the International Space Station. After that, liftoff would have to be pushed back into September, due to the ISS's orbit.


  • 17 July 2005 - Sunday - Weekend troubleshooting has not turned up anything so far. The earliest the launch can be scheduled is late this weekNASA reports:

    NASA Stands Down on Discovery Countdown
    Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson suits up to train for a spacewalk. NASA PHOTO NO: JSC2003-E-02626The STS-114 crew will remain at Kennedy Space Center through the weekend. "While the launch delay is disappointing," said Commander Eileen Collins, "we have strong confidence that the mission will launch safely and successfully."

    More updates Monday.


  • 15 July 2005 - Friday - This morning, Discovery's launch date had slid from Saturday to perhaps Sunday. Now, there is no firm date at all, as NASA engineers struggle to find the cause of the faulty reading that led to a postponement of Wednesday's scheduled launch. NASA reports:

    Going Forward on a Day By Day Basis
    At Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B, Space Shuttle Discovery is largely hidden by the Rotating Service Structure. To the left of the pad is the 290-foot-tall water tower that holds 300,000 gallons of water, part of the sound suppression system during a launch. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1566Space Shuttle Program managers are still working to determine the problem with an Engine Cut-Off sensor that failed a routine pre-launch check during the launch countdown Wednesday.
    (+ View Graphics)
    "We are going forward on a day by day basis," Space Shuttle Program Deputy Manager Wayne Hale explained during a press conference late Friday. "As soon as we fix the problem, we will be four days from launch. What is that date going to be? We don't know."
    John Muratore, Shuttle Systems Engineering and Integration manager, explained twelve teams of engineers across the country are working around the clock to troubleshoot the problem and review data. Further information is expected Monday, but managers are still optimistic about a launch within the current window, which ends July 31.
    The STS-114 crew will remain at Kennedy Space Center through the weekend.

    Check the play-by-play links at top right for up-to-the-minute coverage.


  • 14 July 2005 - Thursday - Shuttle workers continue to investigate the glitch that caused yesterday's scheduled launch to be postponed, just hours before scheduled lift-off.  NASA reports:

    Analysis Continues
    Space Shuttle Discovery remains on the launch pad Wednesday at 3:51 p.m. EDT, the scheduled time of liftoff for Return to Flight mission STS-114. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1541Space Shuttle Program Deputy Manager Wayne Hale has announced more troubleshooting is necessary to determine why an Engine Cut-Off sensor gave intermittent readings during Wednesday's attempted launch of Space Shuttle Discovery.
    The monitoring device protects a Shuttle's main engines by triggering them to shut down in the unlikely event fuel runs unexpectedly low. NASA launch regulations require that all four sensors work properly for liftoff. (To view a graphic showing the sensor's location at the bottom of the External Tank, click here.)
    Hale predicted more information could be available Friday, after NASA and contractor engineering teams across the country have had more time to analyze data and come up with a more definitive plan.
    The STS-114 crew will remain at Kennedy Space Center for the time being, continuing preparations, repeating some training and even taking some time to relax.

    Check the official countdown clock here.


  • 13 July 2005 - Evening Update - It will be Saturday at the earliest, for a new launch attempt for Discovery. NASA reports:

    Sorting It Out
    NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Space Shuttle Program managers spoke with reporters in a press briefing from Kennedy Space Center after the scrub. Image credit: NASA/KSCNASA managers continue to analyze the issue with the Engine Cut-Off sensor on Space Shuttle Discovery's External Tank. The sensor protects an orbiter's main engines by triggering them to shut down in the event fuel runs unexpectedly low. For the moment, no new launch date for Discovery has been set. During the briefing, Space Shuttle Program Deputy Manager Wayne Hale said the most optimistic possibility for the next launch attempt could be as early as this Saturday, July 16. Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.
  • 13 July 2005 - Afternoon Update - SCRUB! The weather seemed to cooperate, but a technical glitch, and an abundance of caution, have caused today's launch to be delayed, just a couple of hours before lift-off. NASA reports:

    Flight Scrubbed
    Space Shuttle managers inside the Launch Control Center announce the scrub of today's launch. Image credit: NASA/KSCToday's Return to Flight launch of Space Shuttle Discovery has been postponed due to an issue with a low-level fuel cutoff sensor onboard the vehicle. The sensor protects an orbiter's main engines by triggering them to shut down in the event fuel runs unexpectedly low. Mission managers are currently assessing the problem. More information will be announced as it becomes available.
    Eileen Collins is the commander for the Return to Flight mission and leads an international crew of six astronauts. Discovery is set for a 12-day flight to deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. The STS-114 mission comes after a two and a half year initiative to reinforce the orbiters and improve the safety of the Space Shuttle fleet.

    NASA officials could not give a new launch date at the time of the scrub.

  • 13 July - 1:30PM EDT - The crew is boarding Discovery. NASA reports:

    One at a Time
    Mission Specialist Charlie Camarda holds up a note to family members while inside the White Room. NASA Image.The astronauts are being seated one-by-one in Discovery's crew cabin. Commander Eilleen Collins was the first crew member inside the ship. Sitting in the left-side cockpit seat, Commander Collins has begun powering up the orbiter's General Purpose Computer for flight.
    In his launch day message, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin said he was "humbled to express a thought that unites the hearts of billions of people around the world: Godspeed Discovery."
    Liftoff of Space Shuttle Discovery on NASA's Return to Flight Mission is scheduled for 3:51 p.m. EDT July 13.

    So far, so good...

  • 13 July - Morning Update - Discovery is fueled up. Weather is 60% favorable. This launch will be all over the news - CNN should have good coverage starting at 3PM EDT. DirecTV customers can watch NASA TV on channel 376, and it's on the web here.

  • 13 July 2005 - LAUNCH DAY - With last-minute repairs complete, the only thing that could keep Discovery on the ground is Florida's summer weather. NASA reports:

    Let's Go Fly!
    Lights brighten the night sky as the Rotating Service Structure is rolled away from the Space Shuttle.. Image credit: NASA/KSCTanking of Discovery's large orange external tank with 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and hydrogen began this morning at 7:11 a.m. Tanking was delayed about an hour when one of two heaters needed to purge the External Tank failed. Primary and backup heaters are required for tanking to begin. A "red team" was being dispatched to the pad and the problem was resolved. Activities continue for an ontime launch of Discovery at 3:51 p.m. EDT today.
    At about 11 p.m. Tuesday evening, Launch Pad 39B's Rotating Service Structure (RSS) was retracted from Discovery in preparation for Wednesday's Return to Flight launch. When in place, the giant enveloping appendage is used to install payloads into an orbiter's cargo bay and provide protection from inclement weather.

    NASA announced a deal with two internet companies to provide streaming video coverage of the mission.


  • 12 July 2005 - Tuesday - This afternoon, one of Discovery's window covers fell and struck an OMS pod. There was minor tile damage, which was repaired on the pad. NASA reports:

    Discovery Launch One Day Away
    At the Shuttle Landing Facility on NASA's Kennedy Space Center, STS-114 Pilot James Kelly and Mission Commander Eileen Collins join support personnel after completing practice runs on the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA). NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1477 At about 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Launch Pad 39B, the cover of Discovery’s window #7 fell approximately 60 feet and struck a carrier panel on the orbiter's left Orbital Maneuvering System pod, damaging several tiles. A replacement carrier panel was quickly located and successfully installed on the orbiter. Work on the panel took approximately one hour, slightly delaying tonight's planned 7 p.m. rollback of the pad's Rotating Service Structure. No other issues are being tracked by the Launch Team.
    Earlier on Tuesday at a Countdown Status Briefing, NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding and STS-114 Payload Manager Scott Higginbotham agreed that everything is go for launch on Wednesday. Discovery, its payloads, the launch team, and the Expedition 11 crew aboard the International Space Station are ready for the mission. Shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters reported a slight increase of a weather delay during countdown -- 40%, up from 30% Monday -- due to the possibility of showers or a thunderstorm, which is typical for this time of year at the launch site.
    The families of the Columbia astronauts issued a statement today, saying "we have every confidence that the sacrifice of our loved ones and those that preceded them will be realized for the benefit of all humankind".
    Liftoff of Space Shuttle Discovery on NASA's Return to Flight Mission is scheduled for 3:51 p.m. EDT July 13.

    Check the official countdown clock here.



  • 09 July 2005 - Saturday - The countdown is underway! NASA reports:

    Three Days Away
    STS-114 crew arrives at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1465During a countdown status briefing Sunday morning at Kennedy Space Center, NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding and STS-114 Payload Manager Scott Higginbotham announced they are go for launch. Launch Weather Officer Kathy Winters expects a 30% chance that weather may prevent launch on Wednesday. In the event of a delay, the forecast is slightly less promising, with the chance of weather violating launch constraints rising to 40% on Thursday and Friday.
    The crew of STS-114 arrived at Kennedy aboard a NASA Gulfstream II jet at 6:30 p.m. EDT Saturday. The astronauts flew in from Houston a day early to avoid treacherous travel conditions caused by Hurricane Dennis.
    Note: Launch countdown officially began at 6 p.m. EDT, July 10. Liftoff of Space Shuttle Discovery on NASA's Return to Flight Mission is scheduled for 3:51 p.m. EDT July 13.

    NASA has loosened the post-9/11 security rules which kept the exact launch time a secret.



  • 30 June 2005 - Discovery is ready to fly! NASA reports:

    Discovery is Ready to Return to Flight
    Space Shuttle Discovery arrives at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1331Shuttle managers met at Kennedy Space Center June 29 and 30 for the Flight Readiness Review and have decided Space Shuttle Discovery is ready to launch. At a press conference June 30 it was announced the Shuttle will Return to Flight on July 13 at [3:51PM EDT/1951 GMT].
    Space Shuttle Discovery sits at the launch pad with its cargo already installed in the payload bay. When it launches to the International Space Station, the Shuttle will take with it a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, a replacement control moment gyroscope and the orbiter boom sensor system, which will help the astronauts inspect the Shuttle's thermal tiles and panels.
    The seven astronauts of the STS-114 mission will test new Shuttle safety procedures recommended by Columbia accident investigators and deliver much needed supplies to the Space Station.

    This is the first Shuttle flight since the tragic loss of Columbia over 2 years ago. Here's the latest schedule:

STS-114 Flight Facts

Mission:   International Space Station Flight LF1
Orbiter: Discovery (OV-103)
Crew: 7 (6 US, 1 Japan)
Launch Date: Wednesday, 13 July 2005
Launch Time: 3:51PM EDT (1951 GMT)
Launch Window: 5 minutes
Launch Facility: KSC, Pad 39B
Docking: 15 July 2005, 12:27PM EDT (1627 GMT)
EVAs: 3 Spacewalks
Undocking: 23 July 2005, 9:23PM EDT (1323 GMT)
Landing: 25 July 2005, 11:01AM EDT (1501 GMT)
Landing Facility: Kennedy Space Center (target)
Orbital Insertion Altitude: 122 nautical miles (226 kilometers)
Orbit Inclination: 51.60°
Duration: 11 Days, 19 Hours, 10 minutes
Flight stats: 114th Shuttle flight (31st for Discovery)

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