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OT: Shuttle Launch

WarthogWarthog Posts: 84
edited 3:40PM in EggHead Forum
NASA has just started the 20 minute countdown. There is a link posted below to Spring Chicken that will take you over to the launch site. I think we (NorthWest) are just about as far from this is can be, with the exception of a few others.

I will be watching!


  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773

    T -9 minutes for 42 minutes. Got to love government logic.
  • WarthogWarthog Posts: 84
    I am sorry, I am on a temporary computer while mine gets worked on. The one I am on has no speakers. May be a moot point. I have two windows up on my screen and the one of the NASA TV showed the countdown clock and it stopped at 9:00 minutes.

    Are they still counting down?
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    They are on a planned 42 minute hold.
  • WarthogWarthog Posts: 84
    That would explain why RichardFL said it would launch shortly after 2:00 his time. Man, that would be hard on the nerves as a pilot on there.
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    If it was a planned 42 minute hold then why are they at T -9 minutes?
  • WarthogWarthog Posts: 84
    I am not certain, but I think I remember calling them like that in the past. they would call a stop at T- something and then I think after a complete systems check, they resume the countdown. I am sure the engineers went through the complete sequence many many times and determined it would take 42 minutes to complete the diagnostics and safety checks. I think if they are going to scrub it, this is when it will happen.

    I don't believe I have ever seen a night launch. Or at least stayed up for one. Would love to see this live some day.
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    You missing the point. This hold was planned so the shuttle would be aligned with the space station. The 42 minute HOLD at T -9 minutes was PLANNED. Would that not make it T -51 minutes..

    I could see it if the hold was not planned.
  • WarthogWarthog Posts: 84
    OH! Now I see what you are saying. Then, yes, it should be T-51:00! It must be Rocket Science!
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    I feel for the divers who have to recover the SRBs. Diving below a 100' is bad enough during the day. They have to plug up the exhaust of the SRB at a depth of 119.16 feet at night.

    All the really big critters come out at night..
  • CW and others.

    Perhaps a little explanation from a rocket scientist working on the Shuttle program is in order.

    NASA determines a lift off time based on proximity of the plane of the Space Station orbit to the launch pad. Launch must occur very very near to the moment that the plane of the orbit passes over the pad (within about 5 min).

    They also determine a set of steps that must be accomplished in sequence in order to launch. That is actually a multi-day sequence. They count back from when they must launch to the countdown start. When the clock is counting down, the steps are to be accomplished. Steps include such major things as filling the fuel and oxidizer tanks, filling the hydrogen and oxygen tanks for the fuel cells, aligning the inertial measuring units, booting the computers on board (something with which I deal), boarding the crew, etc.

    Then, at several intervals in that sequence they add built-in holds where nominally nothing needs to be done. The holds are available in case some piece of ground or space hardware or software is having problems and something needs to be adjusted. That way, if there is a problem, there is time to deal with it while still launching when they must. Of course, then, the actual countdown is started even earlier to accommodate those holds.

    Hope this helps and good luck to the astronauts.


    p.s., I have some photos of Sunday's cook and hopefully I will get a chance to post them this evening.
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