Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Return to Flight Launch Countdown Begins July 23 for Discovery
NASA will begin the countdown for the second Return to Flight launch attempt of Space Shuttle Discovery at noon EDT, July 23, 70 hours before liftoff. On mission STS-114, Discovery's seven-member crew will test new equipment and procedures to increase the safety of the Shuttle and deliver spare parts, water and supplies to the International Space Station.
The Kennedy Space Center launch team will conduct the countdown from Firing Room 3 of the Launch Control Center. The countdown includes nearly 28 hours of built-in hold time, leading to a preferred launch time at about 10:39 a.m. July 26 with a launch window extending about five minutes.
This historic mission is the 114th Space Shuttle flight and the 17th U.S. flight to the International Space Station. STS-114 is scheduled to last about 12 days, with a planned KSC landing at about 5:46 a.m. EDT Aug. 7.
Discovery's first launch attempt was July 13 and was postponed at 1:30 p.m. EDT. During countdown activities, a low-level fuel cut-off sensor located inside the External Tank failed a routine prelaunch check. The sensor protects a Shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut- down in the event that fuel runs unexpectedly low. The sensor is one of four inside the liquid hydrogen section of the External Tank.
Discovery rolled into KSC's Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) on Aug. 22, 2001, after returning from its last mission STS-105 in August 2001 and undergoing an Orbiter Major Modification period. The Shuttle rolled out of OPF bay 3 and into the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on March 29 this year. While in VAB high bay 1, Discovery was mated to its redesigned External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters. The entire Space Shuttle stack was transferred to Launch Pad 39B on April 7.
In order to allow for the addition of a new heater to the External Tank, Space Shuttle Discovery was rolled back to the VAB on May 26 for that modification to be performed. Discovery was removed from its External Tank and attached to a new tank originally scheduled to fly with orbiter Atlantis on mission STS-121, the second Return to Flight mission.
Discovery was rolled back out to Launch Pad 39B on June 15 in preparation for the July launch window.
On mission STS-114, the crew will perform inspections on orbit for the first time of all of the Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) panels on the leading edge of the wings and the Thermal Protection System tiles using the new Canadian-built Orbiter Boom Sensor System and the data from 176 impact and temperature sensors. Mission specialists will also practice repair techniques on RCC and tile samples during a spacewalk in the payload bay.
In the payload bay, the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello, built by the Italian Space Agency, will carry 11 racks with supplies, hardware, equipment and the Human Research Facility-2.
During two additional spacewalks, the crew will install the External Stowage Platform-2, equipped with spare part assemblies, and a replacement Control Moment Gyroscope contained in the Lightweight Multi-Purpose Experiment Support Structure. The STS-114 crew includes Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot James Kelly, and Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi, Stephen Robinson, Andrew Thomas, Wendy Lawrence and Charles Camarda.
For the latest information on NASA's Return to Flight efforts, visit:
(end of general release)
*all times are Eastern Launch-3 Days (Saturday, July 23)
Prepare for the start of the STS-114 launch countdown
Perform the call-to-stations (11:30 p.m.)
Countdown begins at the T-43 hour mark (12 p.m.)
Begin final vehicle and facility close-outs for launch
Check out backup flight systems
Review flight software stored in mass memory units and display systems
Load backup flight system software into Discovery's general purpose computers
Remove mid-deck and flight-deck platforms (2 a.m.) Launch-2 Days (Sunday, July 24)
Complete preparation to load power reactant storage and distribution system (3 a.m.)
Activate and test navigational systems
Flight deck preliminary inspections complete (4 a.m.) Enter first built-in hold at T-27 hours for duration of 4 hours (4 a.m.)
Clear launch pad of all non-essential personnel
Perform test of the vehicle's pyrotechnic initiator controllers Resume countdown (8 a.m.)
Begin operations to load cryogenic reactants into Discovery's fuel cell storage tanks (9:30 a.m.) Enter 4-hour built-in hold at T-19 hours (4 p.m.)
Demate orbiter mid-body umbilical unit (4:30 p.m.)
Resume orbiter and ground support equipment close-outs
Final preparations of the Shuttle's three main engines for main propellant tanking and flight (8 p.m.) Resume countdown (8 p.m.)
Begin filling pad sound suppression system water tank (3 a.m.) Launch-1 Day (Monday, July 25)
Pad sound suppression system water tank filling complete (12 a.m.)
Close out the tail service masts on the mobile launcher platform Enter planned hold at T-11 hours for 13 hours, 44 minutes (4 a.m.)
Begin star tracker functional checks (4:50 a.m.)
Activate orbiter's inertial measurement units
Activate the orbiter's communications systems
Install film in numerous cameras on the launch pad
Flight crew equipment late stow (10:30 a.m.)
Move Rotating Service Structure (RSS) to the park position (1 p.m.)
Perform ascent switch list
Fuel cell flow-through purge complete Resume countdown at T-11 hours (6:44 p.m.)
Activate the orbiter's fuel cells (6:54 p.m.)
Clear the blast danger area of all non-essential personnel
Switch Discovery's purge air to gaseous nitrogen (7:59 p.m.) Enter planned 2-hour built-in hold at the T-6 hour mark (10:44 p.m.) Launch Day (Tuesday, July 26)
Launch team verifies no violations of launch commit criteria prior to cryogenic loading of the External Tank
Clear pad of all personnel
Chilldown of propellant transfer lines (12:44 a.m.) Resume countdown (12:44 a.m.)
Begin loading the External Tank with about 500,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants (about 12:54 a.m.)
Complete filling the External Tank with its flight load of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants (about 3:54 a.m.)
Final Inspection Team proceed to launch pad Enter planned 3-hour built-in hold at T-3 hours (3:44 a.m.)
Perform inertial measurement unit preflight calibration
Align Merritt Island Launch Area (MILA) tracking antennas
Perform open loop test with Eastern Range Resume countdown at T-3 hours (6:44 a.m.)
Crew departs Operations and Checkout Building for the pad (6:49 a.m.)
Complete close-out preparations in the white room
Check cockpit switch configurations
Flight crew begins entry into the orbiter (about 7:19 a.m.)
Astronauts perform air-to-ground voice checks with Launch and Mission Control
Begin to close Discovery's crew hatch (about 8:24 a.m.)
Begin Eastern Range final network open loop command checks
Perform hatch seal and cabin leak checks
Complete white room close-out
Close-out crew moves to fallback area
Primary ascent guidance data is transferred to the backup flight system Enter planned 10-minute hold at T-20 minutes (9:24 a.m.)
NASA Test Director conducts final launch team briefings
Complete inertial measurement unit preflight alignments Resume countdown at T-20 minutes (9:34 a.m.)
Transition the orbiter's onboard computers to launch configuration
Start fuel cell thermal conditioning
Close orbiter cabin vent valves
Transition backup flight system to launch configuration Enter estimated 40-minute hold at T-9 minutes (9:45 a.m.)
Launch Director, Mission Management Team and NASA Test Director conduct final polls for go/no go to launch Resume countdown at T-9 minutes (about 10:25 a.m.)
Start automatic ground launch sequencer (T-9:00 minutes)
Retract orbiter crew access arm (T-7:30)
Start mission recorders (T-6:15)
Start Auxiliary Power Units (T-5:00)
Arm SRB and ET range safety safe and arm devices (T-5:00)
Start liquid oxygen drainback (T-4:55)
Start orbiter aerosurface profile test (T-3:55)
Start main engine gimbal profile test (T-3:30)
Pressurize liquid oxygen tank (T-2:55)
Begin retraction of the gaseous oxygen vent arm (T-2:55)
Fuel cells to internal reactants (T-2:35)
Pressurize liquid hydrogen tank (T-1:57)
Deactivate Bi-pod heaters (T-1:52)
Deactivate SRB joint heaters (T-1:00)
Orbiter transfers from ground to internal power (T-0:50 seconds)
Ground Launch Sequencer go for auto sequence start (T-0:31 seconds)
SRB gimbal profile (T-0:21 seconds)
Ignition of three Space Shuttle main engines (T-6.6 seconds)
SRB ignition and liftoff (T-0) CREW FOR MISSION STS-114
Commander (CDR): Eileen Collins
Pilot (PLT): James Kelly
Payload Commander (MS1): Soichi Noguchi
Mission Specialist (MS2): Stephen Robinson
Mission Specialist (MS3): Andrew Thomas
Mission Specialist (MS4): Wendy Lawrence
Mission Specialist (MS5): Charles Camarda
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