|Live Launch Countdown Coverage|
All times are in EDT unless otherwise stated.|
The Virtual Launch Control Center was activated
July 26, 2005 at 4:45 a.m. EDT.
The Virtual Launch Control Center was deactivated
July 26, 2005 at 10:48 a.m. EDT.
Review our archived coverage of Discovery's first launch attempt July 13, 2005.
10:48 a.m. - Main engine cut-off -- and jettison of the External Tank! Discovery has reached orbit! Commander Eileen Collins confirms a good separation.
10:46 a.m. - Discovery traveling 3,300 miles per hour, altitude 65 miles, and 615 miles downrange from Kennedy.
10:45 a.m. - Discovery has rolled back to a heads-up position now as it soars toward orbit.
10:44 a.m. - Space Shuttle Discovery is traveling 6,700 miles per hour and is 200 miles from Kennedy.
10:42 a.m. - Space Shuttle Discovery is now 85 miles east of the Kennedy Space Center.
10:41 a.m. - Mission-elapsed time two minutes, five seconds and Discovery's twin Solid Rocket Boosters have separated successfully.
10:39 a.m. - 3... 2... 1... and liftoff of Space Shuttle Discovery... beginning America's new journey to the moon, Mars and beyond... and the vehicle has cleared the tower.
Discovery will roll into a head-down position, with wings level and aligned with the launch pad.
Half a minute into its climb, Discovery's main engines will throttle down to about 72%. The engines will throttle back up to 104% about a minute into flight, just before the vehicle passes through maximum aerodynamic pressure known as Max Q.
Solid Rocket Booster separation should take place about two minutes into flight.
10:38 a.m. - T-31 seconds. GLS is go for auto-sequence start, and Discovery's onboard launch sequencer is in control at this point.
At T-16 seconds, the launch pad's Water Sound Suppression System will begin flooding the Mobile Launcher Platform with 300,000 gallons of water. The system protects the Shuttle and its payloads from any damage caused by acoustical energy generated during launch.
At T-10 seconds, flares are ignited under Discovery's three main engines to burn away any residual gaseous hydrogen that may have
collected near the main engine nozzles.
At T-6.6 seconds, the main engines will begin firing in anticipation of liftoff.
10:34 a.m. - Go for APU start. Pilot Jim Kelly is flipping three switches inside Discovery's cockpit to start each of the three Auxiliary Power Units.
10:32 a.m. - The Orbiter Access Arm is being retracted from Space Shuttle Discovery. In an emergency, it could be returned to its extended position in just 28 few seconds if necessary. The White Room, which only hours ago provided access to Discovery's crew module, is at the tip of the Orbiter Access Arm.
10:30 a.m. - T-9 minutes and counting! The terminal countdown is underway. We've come through the final built-in hold this morning and we are on target for a 10:39 a.m. launch. This morning's countdown has proceeded with remarkable smoothness and liftoff is now only minutes away.
The Ground Launch Sequencer has been activated.
Did you know?
Liftoff isn't triggered by the click of a button. At T-9 minutes and counting, the Ground Launch Sequencer (GLS) computer located in the Firing Room begins controlling the countdown automatically. The GLS monitors more than 1000 critical functions through liftoff. At T-31 seconds, the orbiter's onboard computers take over.
10:26 a.m. - Launch Director Mike Leinbach has polled the Director of Shuttle Engineering, the Shuttle Weather Officer and the Director of Safety, and everyone is ready to resume the countdown. NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding has polled the launch team and we are preparing to come out of the T-9 minute hold.
10:19 a.m. - A final test of the engine cut-off (ECO) sensors has been performed and all sensors continue to operate as expected.
The Launch Complex 39 area has been cleared for launch.
10:13 a.m. - A pair of WB-57 aircraft are flying off the coast to provide images of the Discovery ascent that have never been seen before.
10:08 a.m. - Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters has reported to Launch Director Mike Leinbach that weather is favorable for launch today.
10:06 a.m. - Houston Flight has advised Commander Eileen Collins that Zaragoza, Spain will be the TAL site used if necessary.
Did you know?
At the time of Discovery's launch on July 26 at 10:39 a.m. EDT, the International Space Station will be over the southern Indian Ocean, west of Australia.
9:47 a.m. - All three Transatlantic Abort Landing (TAL) sites are green on weather. The TAL sites are located at Zaragoza, Spain; Moron, Spain; and Istres, France.
9:45 a.m. - T-9 minutes and holding for a built-in hold lasting 45 minutes.
9:43 a.m. - T-11 minutes and counting.
9:34 a.m. - T-20 minutes and counting. The next scheduled hold is at T-9 minutes.
9:24 a.m. - T-20 minutes and holding. The countdown clock will stop for 10 minutes and resume at 9:34 a.m.
At the Shuttle Landing Facility, astronaut Kent Rominger is taking off in the Shuttle Training Aircraft. He'll stay aloft through launch, monitoring the weather around Kennedy Space Center.
9:17 a.m. - A comm check between Houston and Discovery just concluded and everyone is loud and clear.
9:15 a.m. - We're less than 10 minutes away from the T-20 minute built-in hold.
9:10 a.m. - T-34 minutes and counting. Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters has given a weather briefing to Launch Director Mike Leinbach. At launch time, the temperature will be in the 80s with scattered clouds. Overall chance of weather becoming a problem for launch is only 10%.
9:06 a.m. - Pressurization of Discovery's crew module is underway.
Did you know?
Solid Rocket Booster retrieval ships Liberty Star and Freedom Star departed from Kennedy Space Center yesterday and are traveling to their location for launch, about 140 nautical miles downrange of the launch pad.
9:00 a.m. - All non-flight items have been removed from the crew module, and the Closeout Crew is closing the hatch.
8:59 a.m. - The WB-57 aircraft have just reported they are ready to support today's launch.
8:44 a.m. - T-1 hour and counting. Mission Control in Houston confirms that today's target launch time is 10:39:00 a.m.
Inside the White Room at Launch Pad 39B, the Closeout Crew is preparing to close Discovery's crew module hatch.
8:40 a.m. - NASA Launch Director Mike Leinbach has confirmed with NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding that the countdown is right on track for launch at 10:39 this morning.
8:36 a.m. - Comm checks are continuing, with all members of the Discovery crew communicating with Mission Control in Houston. "Discovery, we have all of you loud and clear!"
8:22 a.m. - With the flight crew safely aboard and strapped in, the Closeout Crew is beginning cabin closeouts.
8:12 a.m. - The Vehicle Assembly Building doors are being closed in preparation for launch. One of the world's largest buildings by volume, the cavernous facility covers a ground area of about eight acres (3.24 hectares) and has a volume of approximately 129,482,000 cubic feet (3,884,460 cubic meters).
8:10 a.m. - All seven STS-114 crew members are on board Space Shuttle Discovery at this time. We are at T-34 minutes and counting.
8:05 a.m. - Last to board Discovery is Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson.
Did you know?
First Lady Laura Bush is among several dignitaries and VIPs at Kennedy Space Center today to witness NASA's Return to Flight. Over the years, several first ladies have attended launches and other activities at the Center, including Mrs. Richard M. Nixon, Mrs. Jimmy Carter, and Mrs. Bill Clinton.
7:57 a.m. - Noguchi is finally strapping into his seat in Discovery's mid-deck.
7:53 a.m. - Lawrence is on board Discovery at this time.
7:47 a.m. - Collins is reviewing her flip book for emergency procedures, should they be necessary.
The countdown is continuing smoothly.
7:45 a.m. - Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence will board before Noguchi.
7:40 a.m. - Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi is in the White Room and will board shortly. He's holding up signs for the camera: "Get out of quarantine free" and "OUT TO LAUNCH."
7:35 a.m. - Next to climb aboard Discovery will be Mission Specialist Andy Thomas. As each crew member is suited for entry, orange glow sticks are tucked into the shoulder pockets on their upper arms. Like the orange suits, the glow sticks are intended to give the astronauts a means of identifying their locations in the unlikely event of an emergency landing in darkness.
7:25 a.m. - Pilot Jim Kelly is preparing to climb in.
The clouds that have been building offshore this morning are expected to stay offshore.
7:20 a.m. - Mission Specialist Charlie Camarda is next to board. After each astronaut is strapped in, they run through a quick communications check with the nearby Launch Control Center as well as Mission Control in Houston.
Earlier, the crew module was configured by the Astronaut Support Personnel. Known as the "Cape Crusaders," they have helped prepare the orbiter for launch today. The team supporting today's launch is led by astronaut
Lee Archambault as prime, with astronauts Robert Behnken, Alan Poindexter, Douglas Hurley, Barry Wilmore, Michael Good and Kay Hire as support.
7:17 a.m. - A smiling Commander Eileen Collins is shaking hands with the Closeout Crew and boarding Discovery.
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 in the mid-deck.
Another round of ECO sensor tests has been successfully completed. The sensors continue to perform properly and are giving no cause for concern at this point.
7:11 a.m. - The astronauts have reached the White Room, an environmentally-controlled chamber that allows access to Discovery's crew module. They'll go through final suit-up and preparations and board the orbiter one at a time with the help of the closeout crew.
The seven members of the Closeout Crew help the astronauts strap into the Space Shuttle's crew module and take care of any other last-minute needs that arise. Ultimately, they close and seal the crew access hatch and leave the astronauts behind. This elite team comprises two USA suit technicians from Johnson Space Center in Houston, along with the prime Astronaut Support Person. There are three additional USA employees from Kennedy as well as a NASA quality inspector.
Because of the small size of the White Room, only one or two astronauts will enter at a time.
7:09 a.m. - The crew members have arrived at the pad and are taking pictures of each other as they perform a walk-around at Launch Pad 39B. They have received the "go" to board.
7:05 a.m. - The Astrovan carrying the STS-114 flight crew is approaching Launch Pad 39B.
Did you know?
The orbiters are named after pioneering sea vessels that established new frontiers in research and exploration. Only the orbiters have names, and an orbiter alone is not a full Space Shuttle.
7:00 a.m. - Astronaut Kent Rominger will be flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft this morning to assess the weather during the launch countdown.
6:58 a.m. - The astronaut convoy is en route to the launch pad. They will make one stop at the LCC before continuing on.
6:54 a.m. - T-2 hours, 50 minutes and counting. There are no COLAS today and we are on target for a launch at 10:39 a.m.
6:49 a.m. - Led by Commander Eileen Collins, the STS-114 flight crew is departing the Operations and Checkout building amid cheers and good wishes from a small group of spectators. They will board the silver Astrovan for the 20-minute ride out to Launch Pad 39B.
6:44 a.m. - The countdown has resumed! T-3 hours and counting.
6:39 a.m. - The ice team is departing the launch pad and heading back to the Launch Control Center where lead Armando Oliu will give a report to Launch Director Mike Leinbach and the Mission Management Team. Only 5 minutes remain in the T-3 hour built-in hold. The crew will depart for the launch pad in about 10 minutes.
6:32 a.m. - The ice team has completed its inspection, and they are proceeding down to the launch pad's surface.
6:30 a.m. - The sun is beginning to rise on Kennedy Space Center. Still lit by the xenon lights illuminating the launch pad, Space Shuttle Discovery appears to shine against a blue-purple sky.
6:25 a.m. - There will be another test of the engine cut-off (ECO) sensors inside Discovery's External Tank shortly before the crew boards Discovery. So far, though, they are performing well.
6:17 a.m. - The STS-114 crew members are suiting up for launch in their bright orange launch and entry suits.
The crew will leave the Astronaut Crew Quarters at 6:49 this morning and begin boarding Space Shuttle Discovery about half an hour later. No issues are in work during the launch countdown, and liftoff remains on schedule for 10:39 a.m.
6:00 a.m. - There are 44 minutes left in the T-3 hour built-in hold. At a safe distance away from the launch pad is the hydrogen flare stack. Excess hydrogen can be seen venting with a straight-up flame since there is no wind at the pad.
5:59 a.m. - The Final Inspection Team has reached the surface of the Mobile Launcher Platform and are gathered at the foot of one of two tail service masts.
Did you know?
Mission STS-26, the Return to Flight after the Challenger tragedy, was also flown by Discovery.
5:54 a.m. - There are 50 minutes remaining in the T-3 hour built-in hold.
5:45 a.m. - Less than an hour remains in the T-3 hour built-in hold. The countdown will resume at 6:44 a.m.
5:36 a.m. - NAVAIDS activation has been completed.
5:24 a.m. - No issues are in work, and the launch countdown is proceeding on schedule. The flight crew is receiving their weather briefing before suiting up. We are still in the T-3 hour built-in hold.
5:22 a.m. - We are go for NAVAIDS activation.
5:21 a.m. - The Final Inspection Team has reached the 135 foot level, where they'll stay for approximately 10 minutes.
5:05 a.m. - The Final Inspection Team (also known as the Ice Team) has arrived at the 195 foot level without observing any issues so far. The team is composed of seven NASA and contractor members who carry binoculars and a telescope to get a better look at 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 and assess debris concerns on the vehicle and pad that could impact launch or flight safety.
Did you know?
The 154-foot-tall External Tank will actually shrink by six inches once the cryogenic propellants are loaded aboard.
4:59 a.m. - In the crew dining room in the Astronaut Crew Quarters, the STS-114 crew is having the traditional cake, which is decorated with the mission's insignia. This morning they are all wearing very colorful flowered Hawaiian shirts, and Mission Specialist Steve Robinson is playing his guitar. After they finish their cake, they will suit up and receive a weather briefing.
Did you know?
Mission STS-114 will be Discovery's 31st flight.
4:45 a.m. - T-3 hours and holding. Good morning, and welcome to the Virtual Launch Control Center. Space Shuttle Discovery is poised for launch at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B, and so far the countdown is proceeding smoothly toward a liftoff later this morning at 10:39 a.m. EDT.
Fueling of the massive orange External Tank began at 12:48 a.m. with the chilldown thermal conditioning of the propellant lines in preparation for the pumping of 500,000 gallons of super-cold propellants. Tanking began at 1 a.m. and entered stable replenish at 3:39 a.m. EDT.
The engine cut-off (ECO) sensors in the External Tank were tested from wet to dry state during the tanking process, and are performing as expected.
At this time the Final Inspection Team, also known as the ice team, is conducting its three hour inspection of the launch pad.
Another big concern for today -- the weather -- is looking more promising. We're now up to an 80% probability of favorable weather at launch time.
With the Rotating Service Structure rolled away and tanking completed, Space Shuttle Discovery shines at the brightly lit launch pad, awaiting the start of its 12-day mission to the International Space Station.
For a countdown overview, visit:
+ Space Shuttle Countdown 101