Posted by Lydia on November 5th, 2008
With Commander Chris Ferguson in control, Endeavor makes an ontime arrival at Edward’s Airforce Base surrounded by a cerulean blue sky. Amazing wrapup for STS-126’s 15 day, 20 hour mission!
GO AT THROTTLE UP!
It’s lift off for the Space Shuttle Endeavor which left Earth orbit on a successful and beautiful night launch on its way to the International Space Station, which it should reach on Sunday.
The first module was carried into space ten years ago on 20 November, 1998, marking the commencement of construction of the ISS.
STS-126’s 15 day mission will commemorate this anniversary. STS-126 carries supplies, equipment, a regenerative life support system and additional living quarters which once installed will increase the present living area from a “three bedroom one bath living space to a five bedroom two bath home-away-from-home with a gym” enabling crew expansion from three to six onboard astronauts by next spring. The installation of a “regenerative environment control system” will provide astronauts with recycled condensation and waste water which will be used for cooling systems and drinking water in the near future decreasing the dependence on the Space Shuttle, to be retired in 2010.
The fifteen day mission will include at least four working spacewalks to repair the station’s solar array rotary joints (SARJ) assuring necessary solar power generation.
Spacewalkers will replace and lubricate the trundle bearing assemblies on each side of the Space Station two at a time, by removing the protective thermal covers, repairing the assemblies, and reinstalling the protective covers. They will then return to the safety of the Station, rotate the SARJ and repeat the process until every side has been repaired and lubricated on the remaining spacewalks. Not an easy feat!
Endeavor’s crew members include Commander Christopher J. Ferguson, Pilot Eric A. Boe, Mission Specialists: Stephen G. Bowen, Donald R. Pettit, Robert S. (Shane) Kimbrough, Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper and Flight Engineer Sandra H. Magnus, who will replace Flight Engineer Gregory E. Chamitoff returning to Earth with the STS-126 crew. Flight Engineer Magnus will return on shuttle mission STS-119.
The launch is on schedule for tonight at 7:55pm EST. Fueling of the external tanks with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen should begin around 10:30 this morning. The weather, originally believed to be a cause for delay, should cooperate for this night launch which should prove to be another spectacular success. We’ll be watching!
At T-9 minutes there was discussion about the inner door to the White Room which had not been secured. It was determined that damage would be minimal on take off and the Shuttle was released for launch. With all systems go, the retraction of the orbital arm, and well wishes of Godspeed to all aboard, the countdown resumed and Endeavor launched succesfully.