Posted by Lydia on May 16th, 2011
This was another perfect launch for the history of space flight and science. Watching the Shuttle program coming to an end brings back pleasant memories of visiting NASA with my uncle in the 70s and listening to the tour operator explain the ambitious plan of the future Shuttle programme. We toured the facility where training would take place and had a look at the diagrams and mock ups of the shuttle. What seemed sci-fi and high tech then may be considered “routine” now. We have quite a few articles here on Astronomy Today about the Shuttle and Space programme. Now that you have a minute, you may want to have a read. Check out our posted interviews as well.
Here are a few:
Several years ago I again toured JSC with a fine group of people from JSCAS and held Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle manuals. ( You can read about this tour here http://www.astronomytoday.com/forum/about161.html ) …and to think that in the 60’s a lot of work was done with a slide rule.
Endeavor is now in an elliptical orbit, which will be refined in a few minutes. All is routine with no issues or anomalies at hand.
Endeavor has now reached negative return.
Boosters are burning 11 thousand pounds of fuel per second and will fall into the Indian Ocean on separation.
All systems are working perfectly.
LIFTOFF ! GO ! GO ! GO ! GO !
T- 31 sec :
Handoff to onboard computers.
T-2 Crew instructed to close and lock visors.
Pressurization is complete.
Orbiter Access Arm retracted at T-7 .
……..Launch Forecast is GO and Weather is also GO for today’s launch .
We’re at the 9 minute countdown hold waiting for liftoff of Endeavor’s 25th flight, the 36th U.S. mission to the International Space Station, transporting the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and supplies to the ISS. The weather is excellent for launch.
Docking with the ISS is scheduled for 0615 EDT, Wednesday morning.
Endeavor was born after the loss of the Challenger in 1986, and was redesigned for longer space flights. Returning from its last 16 day mission to the ISS, it will have traveled 115 million miles and 139 astronauts into orbit. Endeavor will retire to Los Angeles on its return.
ENDEAVOR STS-134 is still GO FOR LAUNCH for 0856 hrs. EDT from KSC in Florida tomorrow. The crew will start Launch Preparations at midnight tonight, having begun their launch sleep at 1600 hours this afternoon. The electricity producing fuel cells were activated at 5:46 p.m. and the External Fuel tank will be loaded tonight with liquid Hydrogen and Oxygen after a final “Go/No Go” meeting shortly before midnight tonight. NASA TV begins coverage at 2330 hrs. tonight.