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The shuttle Endeavor has arrived therefore the launch - the countdown continues: 5 shuttle operations remain

Universe Today correspondent Ken Kramer covered the transfer of the shuttle Endeavor himself and therefore the launch on Wednesday of this week. Here are his impressions

The space shuttle Endeavor is about to launch. Photo: Ken Cramer, Universe Today
The space shuttle Endeavor is about to launch. Photo: Ken Cramer, Universe Today

The space shuttle Endeavor was driven on Wednesday so the launch center began in Canada. Thus began the official countdown of the number of shuttle launches with only five more launches remaining. These five launches will mark the end of the shuttle era in late 2010 or early 2011, unless the program is extended by several months by President Obama.

Endeavor was lifted on the back of a mobile launch platform (MLP) and driven at a speed of about one kilometer per hour by a huge tow truck, which was built during the Apollo program in the sixties. The gentle journey of approximately 5 km from the shuttle train facility along the crawl path until launch 39A began in the dark during the night, when the first movement began at 04:13 on Wednesday morning. Its transfer therefore the launch was completed at 10:37.

Along the way we observed a large amount of ice recesses formed when the air was at a temperature below the freezing point, and all the journalists as well as a NASA technician were covered in layers of winter frost more suitable for a Soyuz launch from Kazakhstan on December 20 than a launch from Florida.

The launch of Endeavor for mission STS-130 is scheduled for February 7, for the last shuttle night launch scheduled for 04:39 local time (11:39 Israel time). The purpose of this mission is to raise the last component of the three connecting nodes of the International Space Station, known as Tranquility together with the seven cupola observation stations, surrounded by windows. NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said that these cargoes will be transferred to the launch on January 15 and then they will be loaded on the shuttle's cargo deck for their journey into space.

Tranquility is the last large US-made component intended for launch to the International Space Station and it will be connected to the Unity component. The unique cupola component will allow astronauts a 360-degree panoramic view of the Earth, the space station and the rest of the universe.

According to Dana Hutcherson, Endeavour's launch preparation project manager, things are going well for the February 7 launch. We chatted while the Endeavor climbed the last few meters of the ramp behind us leading up to the launch. "We have not encountered any complex problems and we have no concerns at this stage. We have seven extra days in the launch pad, so everything looks fine." saying.

The six-person Endeavor team is scheduled to arrive at Cape Canaveral on January 19 for several days of training, familiarization with the equipment and re-dressing (of the space suits) for launch, in a process that will simulate the countdown at the Kennedy Space Center. Senior NASA officials and the shuttle project management will meet on January 27 to review all aspects of the preparations for the flight and then they will set the official launch date.

For the news in Universe Today

4 תגובות

  1. Thanks and a small correction to the automatic translation - (last paragraph, second line) "rehearsal of the dress" I guess in the original dress rehearsal - a general rehearsal?

  2. Too bad, this should have been the preferred method of entry
    Loads to the runway, with only the external fuel tank not returned.

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