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Mission: STS-121/ULF1.1
Orbiter: Discovery




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LATEST FROM MISSION CONTROL
NASA's Launch Blog - Mission STS-121

07.02.06



The NASA Launch Blog was activated at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

The NASA Launch Blog was deactivated at 1:25 p.m. EDT.

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Leinbach Scrubs Launch
Once again unacceptable weather in the vicinity of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has scrubbed the launch of Discovery on mission STS-121. Launch Manager Mike Leinbach made the announcement.
+ Watch Scrub Announcement

1:14 p.m. - Scrub! We have once again scrubbed the launch opportunity due to weather. We will stand down for 48 hours and try again on Tuesday, July 4. Launch time on Tuesday is set for 2:38 p.m.

Did you know?
Discovery was the third space shuttle orbiter to join the fleet arriving at Kennedy Space Center in November 1983 for the first time.

1:01 p.m. - The two solid rocket booster recovery ships, Freedom Star and Liberty Star, are on station in the Atlantic Ocean about 140 miles northeast of the Kennedy Space Center off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla. They were deployed on Friday, June 30.
+ Read More

12:44 p.m. - We are still "red" -- meaning in violation of launch rules -- due to anvil clouds and storms in the Kennedy area. However, there is still plenty of time for the weather to improve and clear us to launch this afternoon.

12:31 p.m. - Pilot Mark Kelly is performing initial air-to-ground communications checks with Launch and Mission Control in Houston, while the rest of the crew members are getting settled into the vehicle and making final preparations for flight. Each crew member will perform these communications checks with Launch Control here at Kennedy and Mission Control in Houston.

12:27 p.m. - Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak will be the last crew member to enter the orbiter. She will be sitting on the flight deck between Steve Lindsey and Mark Kelly. The hatch will be closed shortly after Nowak is seated.

12:15 p.m. - Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum are the next two crew members to enter the orbiter and be seated.

Once all of the astronauts are in their seats, they will spend three hours on their backs busy completing their preflight checklists. Their work will culminate at T-0 when Discovery is scheduled to launch 3:26 p.m.

12:09 p.m. - Mission specialist and first time astronaut Stephanie Wilson is the next astronaut to enter the orbiter and will be in seat number 5.

12:05 p.m. - European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Reiter is the next crew member to be seated in Discovery. Reiter will be sitting below the flight deck in the mid-deck area. Pilot Mark Kelly follows Reiter and will be seated on the flight deck next to Commander Lindsey.

STS-121 Crew Enters White Room
The crew of STS-121 enters Discovery from the white room at Launch Pad 39B. The closeout crew assists the astronauts as they get ready for the second launch attempt.
+ Watch Crew In White Room

11:58 a.m. - The STS-121 crew is now at Launch Pad 39B and they will take the elevator in the fixed service structure tower to the 195-foot level to begin boarding the shuttle. The astronauts have specific seating designations for each launch. Often the seating arrangement is changed for descent. There is room for up to four seats on the mid-deck and another four on the flight deck.

As shuttle commander Steve Lindsey will be the first astronaut to board the shuttle. He will have the forward-left seat on the flight deck.

As each crew member is suited for launch, orange glow sticks are tucked into the shoulder pockets on their upper arms. Like the orange suits themselves, the glow sticks are intended to give the astronauts a means of identifying one another in the unlikely event of an emergency landing in darkness.

Did you know?
Discovery has completed 31 missions -- the most made by any orbiter in NASA's fleet.

11:48 a.m. - The trip from the Vehicle Assembly Building (where the shuttles are assembled) to the launch pad is about 4 miles. The closeout crew is at the pad awaiting the arrival of the astronauts. They will help them get into the rest of their equipment and seated inside the orbiter.

11:40 a.m. - Astronaut Mike Bloomfield will be flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) today to assess the flying weather during the launch countdown.

Crew Walkout Video
Leaving the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center after suiting up, the seven STS-121 crew members board the "Astrovan" and take the 25-minute ride to Launch Pad 39B for the second time in as many days.
+ Watch Crew Walkout

11:36 a.m. - The crew is on the move. They have departed the crew quarters and entered the elevator to descend to the main floor of the Operations and Checkout Building, where they will be walking outside and entering the Astrovan.

11:31 a.m. - The clock is at T-3 hours and counting. The astronauts should be leaving their crew quarters in about 5 minutes.

11:03 a.m. - Commander Lindsey is receiving an updated weather briefing. The crew should be departing from the astronaut crew quarters on schedule and arrive at the pad around 12 noon.

Did you know?
If you are in Florida, there are several off-site locations for viewing a launch from Kennedy Space Center.
+ Read More

10:44 a.m. - In the Operations and Checkout Facility the astronauts are in the suiting room where they will get into their special pumpkin-orange launch and entry suits. They will then take the elevator down to the main floor, walk out to the Astrovan and depart for Pad 39B. On the way to the launch pad, they will make one stop at the Launch Control Center.

Did you know?
The shuttle’s weight at liftoff will be 4,523,850 pounds.

10:13 a.m. - Within the past hour, the launch team and astronaut support personnel have worked together to complete configuring the myriad of controls and switches inside Discovery's cockpit for the arrival of the crew. Also, the cabin air temperature has been adjusted to comfortable levels.

10:02 a.m. - At this time the only weather criteria that we are not in violation of are smoke and temperatures. There is a weather system above Kennedy Space Center right now that is producing rain over the Launch Control Center. We will be monitoring the progress of the system throughout the morning. There are no technical issues with the shuttle being worked on and at this point only the weather could keep us from launching today.

10:00 a.m. - Commander Steve Lindsey and the other crew members arrived at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility on the morning of June 27. The crew flew to Kennedy from their training center in Houston aboard their T-38 jets. They were greeted upon arrival by Kennedy Center Director Jim Kennedy and Space Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach.

Did you know?
One of the mission objectives is to install the new oxygen generation system for the International Space Station (ISS). + Read More

9:53 a.m. - Today's launch is the 32nd flight of the Shuttle Discovery and the 115th shuttle flight overall in NASA's Space Shuttle Program. Discovery will be placed into a 122-mile high orbit at an inclination of 51.6 degrees to the equator.

9:45 a.m. - There is about one hour and 45 minutes left in the T-3 hour hold. At this time the STS-121 crew is seated in the Crew Dining area for their traditional meal. All crew members are in their red crew polo shirts and are smiling as they look forward to their mission. The mission's insignia is proudly displayed on the front of the table. After they finish their meal, the crew will have a photo opportunity, suit-up for flight and receive the latest weather briefing.

9:30 a.m. - The countdown is at T-3 hours and holding. Good morning and welcome to NASA's Launch Blog. Space Shuttle Discovery sits atop launch pad 39B and the countdown is continuing toward a launch time of 3:26 p.m. this afternoon. Storm clouds and thunder currently roll across Kennedy Space Center's skies. Kathy Winters, shuttle weather officer, forecasts a 70-percent chance of weather prohibiting a launch this afternoon due to thunderstorms and anvil clouds. There is a 60-percent chance of weather prohibiting launch should there be a 24-hour turnaround, and a 40-percent chance with a 48-hour delay. If we scrub today due to weather, mission managers will meet later to decide if they want to make a third consecutive launch attempt or stand down for one day and try again on Tuesday.

Launch Day 2 Opening Commentary Video
Commentator Bruce Buckingham opens live coverage of the countdown for the second-day attempt to launch of STS-121, Discovery's mission to the International Space Station. He describes the progress of launch preparations and the continuing concern over weather.
+ Watch Launch Day 2 Opening Commentary

The following events took place before the start of live coverage:

Fueling operations began at 5:28 a.m. with the chilldown thermal conditioning of the propellant lines and Discovery's plumbing. The chilldown prepares the systems for the shock of the approximately 500,000 gallons super-cold cryogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuels that will be pumped into the shuttle's external tank. Tanking was completed at 8:23 a.m. for a total time of 2 hours and 55 minutes. Word was then received that we had gone into stable liquid oxygen and hydrogen replenish mode to keep the tank topped off through the rest of the countdown.

An area of showers was seen approaching the Cape and rain was expected to arrive a little before 9 a.m. We entered the T-3 hour built-in hold at 8:31 a.m. This hold is three hours in length, one hour longer than the usual two hours in order to give the final inspection team more time to complete the checks of the shuttle after fueling.

The MILA Tracking Station here at Merritt Island has configured its communications antennas for launch and the initial communications checks with the Air Force-controlled Eastern Range have been performed.

The Final Inspection Team and the Closeout Crew were given the all clear to head out through the roadblock and arrived at the pad at 8:35 a.m. The Final Inspection Team, known as the "Ice Team," will begin the inspection of the shuttle for ice and debris once they arrive at the pad.

The Ice Team arrived at Pad 39B and is beginning their inspections from the 255-foot level. They will continue to inspect the entire shuttle, working their way down to the base of the vehicle at the Mobile Launcher Platform (MLP) level. This inspection usually takes approximately two hours.

The Ice Team is composed of seven NASA and contractor members who carry binoculars and a telescope to get a better look at the hard-to-see areas. The team objective is to assess the integrity of the thermal insulation on the external tank. They also look for ice and frost formations on the tank, measure temperatures on various parts of the vehicle, as well as assess debris concerns on the shuttle and pad that could impact launch or flight safety.

The Orbiter Closeout Crew is in the launch pad White Room. The White Room sits on the end of the Orbiter Access Arm catwalk that extends to Discovery's crew module. They will make the final preparations for the astronaut's arrival at the pad a few hours from now.

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