Space Shuttle Discovery Set To Launch, 24th Feb 2011


Champion Elect
You all are probably aware that Discovery's launch has been set back a few times... the date may yet change again! :)

As far as I'm aware, the main reason for the delay was due to cracks in the external fuel tank's "stringers". Now, I'm not an expert (I've not an inkling on what stringers are!) but I'd image, when it comes to the shuttle, a crack is not good! This does beg the question, "is this the first time these cracks have appeared and, if not, why weren't they noticed before"?! (OK, that's two questions...)

Anyway, NASA have announced that the launch is now due for 24th Feb 2011, assuming the inspection is all clear tomorrow, Thursday 27th NASA - space shuttle.

So, if everything checks out ok, then the shuttle will begin it's 6 hour roll-out to the launch pad on Monday 31st Jan.
NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery Set for Final Trip to Launch Pad
Rather nicely, NASA have given an invite for a photo-shoot when the shuttle is on the launch pad, so if any American CTA members feel like blagging their way in, any piccies posted on this thread would be great!! LOL

"NASA also will provide a sunrise photo opportunity at the launch pad on Feb. 1, following Discovery's arrival. Reporters need to be at the news center for transportation to the viewing area by 6 a.m. Updates for events are available at 321-867-2525.

To attend rollout and the sunrise pad photo opportunity, U.S. media representatives must apply by 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28."
Do we have any potential "U.S. media representatives" as members on this site? If we do, you haven't got long to apply..! ;)

Popcorn ready, cider in the fridge and feet resting on my foot-stool. I'm ready to go... :popcorn:
What do you mean, 30 days to go is a bit early..... :unsure:


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    Space shuttle Discovery.jpg
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Discovery is Ready to Roll
Mon, 31 Jan 2011 09:31:13 PM GMT

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, preparations for space shuttle Discovery's rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A are under way. Teams are not working any issues that would delay the shuttle's move.

First motion to the pad is expected at 8 p.m. EST and will be shown live on NASA Television (
Yeah, the Atlantis mission is yet to be approved, so may not go ahead...

...Anyway, Discovery is due to start it's slow roll journey to the launch pad, in one hour, at 01:00:00 GMT.
Latest Space Shuttle News

Earlier today (last night for the Americans), measurements were being taken on one of the connections between the Shuttle and the launch pad (an umbilical cord..)

Whilst this was happening, "a feeler gauge came apart and some components of the gauge fell from the work area. Feeler gauges consist of 13 pieces of metal about the thickness of a piece of paper held together by a retainer screw".

Assessments will continue today, to ascertain whether any damage has been done to the Shuttle, the external fuel tank or the solid rocket boosters.

"The Space Shuttle Program plans to hold its Flight Readiness Review Thursday (today) as scheduled to assess the readiness of Discovery, the crew, flight and launch control teams, to proceed toward the target launch date of Thursday, Feb. 24".

Nasa source >> GUCP replacement seal today
Whilst this was happening, "a feeler gauge came apart and some components of the gauge fell from the work area. Feeler gauges consist of 13 pieces of metal about the thickness of a piece of paper held together by a retainer screw".

They're concerned that something designed to break through the Earth's upper atmosphere could have been damaged by a set of feeler gauges. Jeez, would you want to fly in that?
Latest Space Shuttle News

The space shuttle crew enter quarantine tonight, in advance of next Thursday's planned launch.


Teams are performing final inspections on the spacecraft's aft today and will fill up several orange bags with water at the flame trench at Launch Pad 39A. The sausage-shaped bags called water troughs are suspended beneath the nozzles of the solid rocket boosters. At ignition, they break open and the water helps dampen the sound waves generated by the boosters.

From >> Intertank Door Closed; Astronauts Prep for Quarantine

All systems are currently go for today's launch, at 9.50pm GMT. No technical concerns and there's a 90% chance of favourable weather.

Watch today's launch on NASA TV

Part of the payload on Discovery STS-133 is Robonaut2, or R2.

Robonaut 2 or R2, will launch to the International Space Station on space shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission, it will become the first dexterous humanoid robot in space, and the first US-built robot at the space station. But that will be just one small step for a robot and one giant leap for robot-kind.
Initially R2 will be deployed on a fixed pedestal inside the ISS. Next steps include a leg for climbing through the corridors of the Space Station, upgrades for R2 to go outside into the vacuum of space, and then future lower bodies like legs and wheels to propel the R2 across Lunar and Martian terrain. A four wheeled rover called Centaur 2 is being evaluated at the 2010 Desert Field Test in Arizona as an example of these future lower bodies for R2.

Quote from this site >> Robobaut: Home


There are a couple of other video's on the Robonaut website... :popcorn:
There may be a problem with the weather!

It looks like blue sky around the shuttle... if you want to know what the weather's doing, stick your head out the window!!

It appears it may be a weather computer problem... or perhaps it's a problem with one of the emergency "return to earth" sites that's used if there's an issue after take-off.....
My pleasure.

I just wonder what recalculations that NASA now have to make, as the launch was right on the edge of the launch window (just a couple of seconds later and they would have aborted..)
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