STS-114 Mission Journal  

STS-114 Mission Journal - Part 2

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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.

  • 27 July 2005 - Afternoon Update - Making sure the orbiter is safe. NASA reports:

    Crew Completes Inspections: Robot Arm and Boom Lend a Hand
    Here is a view from a camera inspecting one of Space Shuttle Discovery's wings. The camera is attached to a boom attached to the Shuttle's robot arm. Image credit: NASA TVThe crew ... prepared for Discovery’s arrival at the Space Station tomorrow morning. Discovery is scheduled to dock to the ISS Thursday at 7:18 a.m. EDT.
    A briefing on imagery analysis will be held later this afternoon at 6 p.m. EDT.

    Flight Day 1 Gallery here. External Tank images here.

  • 27 July - Flight Day 2 - Launch videos reveal that the External Tank shed a piece of foam insulation, and that there may be a small chip in one of the insulating tiles on Discovery's surface. NASA reports:

    Crew Inspects Discovery
    STS-114 Commander Eileen Collins waves while she and Mission Specialist Steve Robinson work on Discovery's flight deck hours after launch. Image credit: NASA TVIt is a busy day for the STS114 crewmembers as Space Shuttle Discovery continues to close in on the International Space Station.
    Inspections of Discovery's heat shield began this morning about 5:40 a.m. EDT. Crewmembers are using cameras and a special boom on the robot arm to inspect Discovery's wings, nose cap, and crew cabin. Also, crewmembers are slated to use handheld cameras to inspect tiles on the Orbital Maneuvering System pods. The crew's inspections are slated to last seven hours.
    Discovery's lifoff, seen from a pond at KSC. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1753Engineers on the ground are using the imagery and data from today’s inspections and from Tuesday's launch videos to determine the health of Discovery’s heat shield. The engineers continue to evaluate two debris events that were captured by video as Discovery climbed into space.
    Other activities today include preparations for the crew’s three spacewalks and Discovery's arrival at the Space Station. Later today, Commander Eileen Collins will adjust Discovery’s orbit for Thursday’s docking scheduled for 7:18 a.m. EDT.
    At 1 a.m. EDT today, Discovery was 6,516 miles behind the Station.

    Flight Day 1 videos and pics are now available in the NASA Gallery. Flight Day 1 Mission Status Briefing here.


  • 26 July - ORBIT! - Discovery has climbed into Earth orbit, marking a successful first phase of this mission. NASA reports:

    Shuttle Returns to Space, Heads to Space Station
    Discovery's liftoff. NASA PHOTO NO: STS114-S-017Almost nine minutes after lifting off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Space Shuttle Discovery successfully reached orbit, marking the Shuttle fleet’s return to space. STS-114 is the first mission to fly since the loss of Shuttle Columbia and the STS-107 crew on Feb. 1, 2003.
    Discovery and its seven-member crew launched at 10:39 a.m. EDT to begin the two-day journey to the International Space Station. Discovery is slated to dock with the ISS at 7:18 a.m. EDT Thursday.
    Discovery's crew about to board the Astrovan. NASA PHOTO NO: STS114-S-007The mission has several objectives. The STS-114 crew will demonstrate new methods of inspecting and repairing the Shuttle’s thermal protection system. Discovery will deliver supplies to the ISS, and the STS-114 crew will perform three spacewalks. The spacewalks tasks will include tasks to repair and outfit the ISS.
    Discovery and its crew are scheduled to return to Earth on Aug. 7 at 5:46 a.m. EDT.

    Launch pics here and here. Stay tuned...

  • 26 July - LIFTOFF! - "Beginning America's new journey to the Moon, Mars, and beyond!" What a thrill, to see the shuttle roar off the pad again after 2½ years! NASA reports:

    Discovery Cruises Through Flight Milestones
    Space Shuttle Discovery launches from pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Image credit: NASA/KSCLike 3-2-1, orbiter Discovery has successfully shed its Solid Rocket Boosters and External Tank, and shut down the main engines after reaching space.
    Solid Rocket Booster separation was triggered 2-minutes and 5-seconds into the flight after burnout of the putty-like fuel packed inside each rocket. The firing of explosive bolts freed the twin boosters from the side of the External Tank, allowing them to peel away from the Space Shuttle. Parachutes were then automatically deployed from the boosters, allowing them to slowly descend into the Atlantic Ocean where they will be towed back to shore.
    Discovery initiated the command for Main Engine Cutoff, or MECO, at the 8-minute, 23-second mark. MECO shuts down the orbiter's three powerful engines in the rear of Discovery after completing the "uphill" climb into space.
    With the ascent into space complete and fuel onboard the External Tank exhausted, Discovery jettisoned the orange canister. Following jettison, Discovery used [its] new belly-mounted digital camera to take pictures of the tank as it fell back into Earth's atmosphere.

    When Mission Control called "Go for throttle-up", it evoked memories of the Challenger loss in 1986.


  • 26 July - 10:30AM EDT - With minutes to go, the astronauts are squared away, and NASA's "navy" is in place. NASA reports:

    Buckled In and Sealed Tight
    Earlier this morning, the crew enjoys some post-breakfast cake. NASA photo.NASA's two Solid Rocket Booster retrieval ships, Freedom Star and Liberty Star, are reporting to be in position for launch. Both ships are currently on station 140 nautical miles out in the Atlantic Ocean to the east of Jacksonville, Fla. The ships will tow the boosters back to Kennedy Space Center following each rocket's 7-minute descent into the ocean. The ships and their cargo are expected to arrive at the Center at 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday.
    Today's launch time is precisely calculated for 10:39:00 a.m. EDT.

    Preflight videos are available in the NASA Gallery.

  • 26 July - Morning Update - Less than 2 hours to go. NASA reports:

    Take Your Seats
    Everything -- and everyone -- looks good on Discovery's mid-deck. Image credit: NASA/KSCThe astronauts are being seated inside Discovery's crew cabin. Commander Eileen Collins was the first crew member to enter the orbiter, taking her seat on the left side of the cockpit. Commander Collins is now busy powering-up Discovery's General Purpose Computer for flight. Mission Specialist Charlie Camarda followed a short time after Collins.
    Watch Space Shuttle Discovery's countdown to liftoff on the Virtual Launch Control Center.

    CBS News is covering live, as is CNN.


  • 26 July 2005 - LAUNCH DAY - As we check in on early morning preps, it looks like weather conditions are improving, and the fuel sensors are performing as expected. F-16 fighters will patrol the skies over KSC, and the crew of the ISS are getting ready to receive guests. NASA reports:

    Expedition 11 Preps for Spacewalk, Return to Flight
    With Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev at the controls, the Soyuz vehicle flies toward the Zarya module's docking port. Credit: NASA
    Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer John Phillips spent their workweek relocating a Soyuz spacecraft, performing International Space Station maintenance and science and preparing for a July 26 launch of Discovery on its STS-114 mission – the Space Shuttle’s Return to Flight.
    Krikalev and Phillips entered their Soyuz spacecraft on July 19, then undocked from the Station and redocked 30 minutes later to a new port. The Soyuz was moved from the Pirs docking port to the Zarya control module's Earth-facing port. The move frees up the Pirs docking port so that it can be used as an airlock for the crew's August spacewalk.
    With Discovery’s upcoming launch, the Station crewmembers are readying the ISS for a Shuttle visit. Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to dock with the Station on July 28.

    Follow the flight with the play-by-play links at top right.


  • 25 July 2005 - Evening Update - Are we gonna fly, or what? NASA reports:

    Poised for Liftoff
    The rolling back of Launch Pad 39B's Rotating Service Structure reveals orbiter Discovery. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1680Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-114, NASA's Return to Flight mission, is set for Tuesday at [10:39AM EDT/1439 GMT].
    The launch pad's Rotating Service Structure (RSS) was rolled away from Discovery at [3:38PM EDT/1938 GMT] on Monday. When in place, the giant enveloping appendage is used to install payloads into an orbiter's cargo bay and provide protection from inclement weather. With the RSS now out of the way, propellant loading is set to begin after midnight Tuesday morning with the pumping of more than 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and hydrogen into the vehicle's orange External Tank.
    The chance of Kennedy weather cooperating for the launch remains at 60 percent.
    First Lady Laura Bush will join other dignitaries and VIPs at Kennedy for the Return to Flight liftoff, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan announced earlier today.

    This launch will be all over the news - CNN should have good coverage starting at 10AM EDT (1400 GMT). DirecTV customers can watch NASA TV on channel 376, and it's on the web here.

  • 25 July 2005 - Monday - If the weather holds up, we will see our first Shuttle launch since Columbia in January 2003. NASA reports:

    Discovery Launch Tuesday
    STS-114 Mission Specialists Charlie Camarda (left) and Steve Robinson (right) with Commander Eileen Collins at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility Sunday morning after practice in the Shuttle Training Aircraft. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1669Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on NASA's Return to Flight mission is still on track for Tuesday at 10:39 a.m., NASA Test Director Pete Nickolenko announced during a morning briefing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "Our teams have worked hard to prepare Space Shuttle Discovery and her crew for launch," Nickolenko said.
    According to International Space Station Mission Manager Scott Higginbotham, the hardware in Discovery's payload bay is ready for mission STS-114. At Launch Pad 39B, rollback of the Rotating Service Structure is set for 1:30 p.m. today, followed by the completion of pad closeouts.
    NASA will keep a wary eye on the weather throughout the countdown. "We are still concerned that right around the launch time, the sea breeze will be developing, and some off-shore activity could bring in some anvil clouds and some showers or cumulous clouds in the area of the launch pad or the [Shuttle Landing Facility]," said Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. The chance of Kennedy weather cooperating for the launch remains at 60 percent.
    Flight systems and ground support hardware are ready and the flight crew and support teams are eagerly looking forward to a successful launch on Tuesday at [10:39AM EDT/1439 GMT].

    Discovery will launch, even if the fuel-sensor problem from last week recurs - but only under certain circumstances.


  • 24 July 2005 - Evening Update - Looking good for Tuesday, if the weather holds up. NASA reports:

    On Track for Tuesday's Launch!
    STS-114 Pilot James Kelly (COL, USAF) at the controls of the  Shuttle Training Aircraft. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1668NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, along with the Mission Management Team (MMT) announced at Sunday afternoon's launch readiness press conference that Discovery is on track for a Tuesday launch.
    Wayne Hale gave a show-and-tell presentation of a fuel sensor module and described how they're used in the External Tank. "We have completed all of our ambient temperature checks. We have run every test we could think of and so far no repeat."
    Hale went on to say "If the problem recurs and under very closely defined circumstances in sensor #2 or sensor #4 then we will do some more tests and if we are comfortable that we have a good understanding then we can go fly ... We are ready to go launch Tuesday morning. If things go our way we'll see our first Space Shuttle launch in 2 and a half years."
    Shuttle Weather Officer, 1st Lt. Mindy Chavez, reported that the development of cumulus clouds, stray showers or anvil clouds could be a concern at launch time. The chance of Kennedy weather cooperating for the launch remains at 60 percent.
    Flight systems and ground support hardware are ready and the flight crew and support teams are eagerly looking forward to a successful launch on Tuesday.

    Check the official countdown clock here.

  • 24 July 2005 - Sunday - Launch preparations continue. NASA reports:

    Discovery On Track for Tuesday Launch
    STS-114 Commander Eileen Collins (COL, USAF, ret) at the controls of the  Shuttle Training Aircraft. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-05PD-1667With two days left before the scheduled launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on NASA's Return to Flight mission, NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding reports that final preparations continue on track and the orbiter's aft compartment has been closed for flight.
    "Our flight and ground systems are ready, the launch teams are ready, and our flight crew is ready to begin this mission of returning the Shuttle to flight and bringing her crew safely home," Spaulding stated during a briefing Sunday morning at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
    Development of cumulus clouds, stray showers or anvil clouds will be concerns at launch time, according to Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. The chance of Kennedy weather prohibiting launch remains at 40 percent.
    The countdown clock came to life at the T-43 hour mark and immediately began counting down toward a liftoff Tuesday at 10:39 a.m. EDT.

    Pre-launch Press Conference no earlier than 4:30PM EDT today.


  • 23 July 2005 - Saturday - The countdown has begunNASA reports:

    Counting Down Toward Liftoff
    The launch countdown gets under way at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image credit: NASA/KSCAt noon today, countdown clocks at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida came to life at the T-43 hour mark and immediately began counting down toward a liftoff Tuesday at 10:39 a.m. EDT.
    Space Shuttle Discovery is in great shape for the Return to Flight launch, NASA Test Director Pete Nickolenko announced during a briefing Saturday morning.
    "We believe our flight systems and ground support systems are ready," Nickolenko explained. "We are looking forward to a successful launch and mission."
    Due to concerns about the early development of showers and cumulus clouds, the chance of Kennedy weather prohibiting launch is 40 percent, according to Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. There are also concerns about crosswinds at all three Trans-Atlantic Landing sites, located in Spain and France.
    The flight crew, led by Commander Eileen Collins, returned to Kennedy on Friday to begin final preparations for their flight to the International Space Station.

    Stay tuned...


STS-114 Links...


Play-By-Play:

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