segunda-feira, 15 de dezembro de 2008

Alguns vídeos espetaculares

Leitores de CD em gravidade zero.

Foguetão Soyuz.

Alka Seltzer em órbita!

Lançamento do Space Shuttle, de dentro.

Café em órbita.

sexta-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2008

Aterragem do Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-126

Aqui está, com algum atraso, o vídeo da aterragem, na Base Aérea de Edwards, na Califórnia. A aterragem deveria ser na Flórida, mas foi desviada para a Califórnia devido ao mau tempo que iria persistir nos dias em que a Endeavour teria de aterrar.

sexta-feira, 28 de novembro de 2008

O momento em que se perdeu um saco de ferramentas em órbita

Foi mesmo um daqueles acidentes que só acontecem porque as pessoas estão habituadas a porem coisas de lado e elas não fugirem. Infelizmente, no Espaço, é diferente. Heide Piper, astronauta da missão STS 126, neste momento ainda em órbita, teve de limpar o interior de um saco de equipamento, por ter escapado óleo de uma ou mais das pistolas que seriam utilizadas para lubrificar um dos painéis solares da Estação Espacial Internacional ISS. Ao fazê-lo teve de tirar momentaneamente um saco de ferramentas desse saco maior, e o saco escapou. Vê-se perfeitamente o momento em que a astronauta ainda tenta agarrar o saco, sem sucesso.

As ferramentas foram avaliadas em cerca de 100.000 dólares.

segunda-feira, 24 de novembro de 2008

Buran, o Space Shuttle Soviético

Fez há dias 20 anos que se realizou o único vôo de uma máquina absolutamente revolucionária, o Space Shuttle soviético 'Buran'.

Em certos aspectos era - e é ainda - superior ao seu equivalente americano. Nomeadamente era capaz de vôos não tripulados, era capaz de transportar mais 5 toneladas de carga, por virtude de não ter os foguetes principais na nave, e podia ser lançado e aterrar em condições mais adversas que o Space Shuttle. Adicionalmente, o seu foguetão podia ser usado para transportar outras cargas que não o Buran.

Só vantagens, com 7 anos de atraso em relação ao programa americano, e ficamos com a idéia de que se desperdiçou muito génio.

Fonte: BBC

Buran - the Soviet 'space shuttle'

By Anatoly Zak

Buran (AFP)
Despite its looks, Buran was not a facsimile of the US shuttle

Some 20 years ago, on 30 September 1988, many readers of the Pravda newspaper - the official mouthpiece of the Soviet communist party - could not believe their eyes.

Published somewhat inconspicuously on the second page, there was a photo depicting the familiar shape of the US space shuttle, but with Soviet insignia on its wings.

Finally, years of rumours about a Soviet "copy" of the shuttle had been confirmed.

However, the official Soviet press was quick to point out that despite its superficial resemblance to the US counterpart, the Russian shuttle, dubbed Buran or "snowstorm", was better and more capable.

Within days, the new ship got a chance to prove it.

On November 15, 1988, as snowy clouds and winds were swirling around Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Buran orbiter, attached to its giant Energia rocket, thundered into the gloomy early morning sky.

" They obliterated this crowning achievement of the Soviet space programme "
Three hours and two orbits later, the 100-tonne bird glided back to a flawless landing just a few miles from its launch pad.

Despite the kind of strong winds that would rule out any launch or landing attempt by the US space shuttle, Buran touched down just 3m off the runway centreline.

And this planet-wide ballet was performed with its "pilots" safely on the ground.

Born of paranoia

Buran's pioneering mission was the culmination of an effort by more than 600 Soviet institutions which, since 1976, had secretly laboured on this largest of Soviet space projects.

Upon the spacecraft's triumphant landing, the Soviet newspapers promised a new era in space exploration. Few could predict at the time that it would be Buran's only mission.

Unlike Nasa, Soviet developers never had any grand illusions about replacing traditional rockets with a reusable space truck.

Instead, the Soviet shuttle was conceived primarily as a "symmetrical response" to the perceived military threat from America's winged orbiters.

Buran site
A fully assembled Energia rocket with the first flown Buran orbiter, in 2002

Years after a sceptical Pentagon had given up on the shuttle, even as a delivery truck for spy satellites, the Russian officials continued whispering to journalists that the US orbiter had a secret capability - to make an undetected "dive" into the Earth's atmosphere and suddenly glide over Moscow dropping nuclear bombs.

Never mind that such a scenario was not supported by physics or by common sense.

Energia-Buran's chief architect, Valentin Glushko, hardly tried to educate warmongers at the Politburo about the questionable merits of the re-usable orbiter as a weapon.

Glushko was one of the first generation of Soviet rocket pioneers, who were experimenting in the 1930s under the tutelage of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky - one of the "fathers" of spaceflight. Like many of his contemporaries, he had little interest in designing weapons.

He did dream, however, about building a permanent base on the surface of the Moon.

Unfortunately, after losing the Moon race to America in 1969, Soviet leaders had little appetite for another deep-space adventure.

Launch pad
The launch and test facility where the Energia rocket first took off in 1987

Still, Glushko probably hoped to exploit Cold War paranoia about the threat of the US shuttle as an opportunity to lay a detour road to the Moon, and possibly even to Mars.

Glushko carefully steered the Soviet shuttle project away from being a carbon copy of the American design, which could not be easily modified.

Instead, he proposed a winged orbiter along with a fully functional rocket which could carry any cargo - including lunar landers, orbital tugs and even pieces of a Martian expeditionary complex.

In the end, Kremlin bosses had committed to the monumental expense of money and human talent with only vague hopes that real tasks for the grandiose vehicle would emerge as it came online.

Instead, after long delays and cost overruns, the Buran appeared on the scene in the last act of the Cold War and amid a crumbling Soviet economy.

The Berlin Wall had come down just a year after its first flight, and the Soviet Defence Ministry was suddenly more preoccupied with resettling thousands of troops returning from Eastern Europe than with servicing orbital anti-missile platforms and deploying killer satellites in space.

Energia site
The first stage of the Energia rocket inside Building 112 in Baikonur

The collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 sealed the fate of the Energia-Buran system.

There was a flicker of hope for Buran's giant booster - Energia - when Russia joined the effort to build the International Space Station (ISS).

Still unfinished today, after a decade of efforts and dozens of assembly flights, the ISS could have been hauled into orbit by only a few Energia boosters, had international partners adopted it into the program, say the rocket's proponents.

In the mid-1990s, a flight-ready Buran orbiter, which made the historic trip in 1988, had been mounted on the back of a fully assembled Energia rocket at Baikonur's Building 112.

This eye-popping display became a popular stop for journalists and foreign tourists, who periodically "invaded" Baikonur for high-profile launches.

To the untrained eye, the gargantuan rocket and its orbiter looked all but ready for a rollout to the launch pad.

Last resting place

In 2001, this spectacle, combined with the optimistic and mis-translated comments of a Russian guide, had such a profound effect on one Western reporter that he filed a story claiming that the Energia-Buran programme was about to be re-started.

The article proved that a decade after its demise, the Buran had already become a legend.

However, if one looked closely in Building 112 it was possible to see water dripping from the high ceiling on a rainy day and accumulating on the floor, under the dead torsos of Energia rockets.

The keeper of the facility, who showed reporters around the building, said that he could hardly find money to send repair men to patch up the giant roof.

Interior of N-1 hangar at Baikonur
Rescue workers search the devastated hangar at Baikonur

Eventually, a repair team, believed to include eight people, did make it to the roof, climbing on top of Building 112 on May 12, 2002.

According to eyewitnesses, at about 0920 local time, the entire structure shook violently, as if hit by an earthquake, and enormous pieces of debris plunged dozens of metres to the ground below.

They obliterated this crowning achievement of the Soviet space programme.

But the Energia-Buran programme did leave a lasting legacy.

The cavernous launch facilities at Baikonur and a state-of-the-art mission control centre in Korolev have continued serving the Russian space programme and its international partners.

The rocket technology developed for Energia-Buran has been put to use in other launchers.

A mighty RD-170 engine, originally developed for the first stage of Energia, today powers the Ukrainian Zenit rocket.

This engine's scaled-down descendants - the RD-180 and RD-190 - have been adopted for the US Atlas booster and Russia's next-generation Angara rockets.

While the US space shuttle will soon share the fate of the Buran orbiter - as a museum exhibit - emerging plans for lunar exploration have revived concepts of super-heavy rockets, on both sides of the Atlantic.

If they are ever built, their creators will have to re-trace the path once made by Valentin Glushko and his colleagues.

Espectacular! Camera de carro da polícia canadiana filma queda de meteoro!

Astrónomos estão neste momento a tentar encontrar restos do meteoro.

sábado, 15 de novembro de 2008

Vídeos amadores do lançamento do Space Shuttle

E de acordo com a tradição, aqui vão alguns vídeos amadores do lançamento desta madrugada. Um deles é feito por um miúdo! :)

Nossa Senhora! Caramba! :D

Oxalá o Presidente Eleito dos EUA, Barack Obama, tenha a oportunidade de constatar o apoio popular a estas missões!

Deve ser uma festa do caraças ver um lançamento destes! Especialmente a uma hora acessível, como este foi - nos EUA eram 5 para as 8 da noite! Lindo!

Lançamento nocturno do Space Shuttle Endeavour - STS 126

Faltavam 5 minutos para a uma da manhã em Lisboa quando um Sol artificial se ergueu do Centro Espacial Kennedy, em Merrit Island, na Flórida. Tratava-se do Space Shuttle Endeavour, em mais uma missão para expandir as capacidades da Estação Espacial Internacional (ISS). O vídeo abaixo mostra toda a sequência da contagem decrescente nos últimos 9 minutos, a partir da tradicional 'despedida' do director de vôo e do comandante do Space Shuttle, até à entrada em órbita. Visto tratar-se de um lançamento nocturno, a fase mais espetacular é mesmo nos primeiros segundos de vôo.

quinta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2008

Tudo a postos para o lançamento do Space Shuttle amanhã, perto da meia-noite.

O Space Shuttle Endeavour, uma das naves espaciais mais fantásticas alguma vez concebidas, será lançado amanhã, por volta da meia-noite e 55, hora de Lisboa. Tudo está a correr bem com a contagem decrescente, a única incógnita é o tempo, já que uma frente fria se está aproximar do Centro Espacial Kennedy. Os meteorologistas consideram haver 60% de possibilidades de condições favoráveis ao lançamento. Estaremos atentos! :)

Fonte: NASA SpaceFlight

STS-126 launch countdown begins - Atlantis heads back to OPF-1

November 11th, 2008 by Chris Bergin

The three day launch countdown for STS-126 has begun, marking the start of S0007 operations - which will hopefully conclude with the launch of Endeavour at 7:55pm local time on Friday. Meanwhile, Atlantis has been towed back to her Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF-1), as a result of the rescheduling of STS-125.

Endeavour is issue free, following the confirmation that the Integrated Display Processing (CRT2 MEDS 1553) problem has been cleared for flight.

“CRT 2 troubleshooting update: No additional troubleshooting is planned prior to launch. The plan is to fly as-is and defer any further troubleshooting to next flow,” noted the latest flow report on L2.

“The problem is not expected to impact flight ops since it only occurs at MDU power up, and MDU operation has not been affected. Currently, there are no Cat I constraints, and 34 Cat II constraints.”

The only concern at present is the weather that is expected in the local area around launch time, although this remains favorable. Should there be a delay to the November 14 launch date several mission options may come into play, relating to the arrival of the Russian Progress resupply vehicle (31P) - which is due to launch to the ISS later this month.

“The MMT (Mission Management Team) Prebrief was conducted (with) the discussion focused on potential decisions that may be required during the mission,” noted the latest MOD 8th Floor memo.

“The Progress 31P loiter plan allows STS-126 to launch as late as 11/21 and still allow one day between nominal undock and 31P docking. Use of the FD4 (Flight Day 4)pane on “two-pane” days was discussed. There is only FD3 capability on the nominal launch day of November 14 so this discussion only comes into play for a launch delay.

“If launch is scrubbed, the current plan is to use the FD4 pane if required to get off the pad on November 15th. ISS may request a one day mission extension if required to accomplish important sampling activities to support go/no-go decisions for six person crew. This decision could come as late as FD10 depending on how the mission is progressing.

“The focused inspection decision timeline is slightly unique for this mission since some locations on the starboard wingtip cannot be inspected after the MPLM is installed due to insufficient clearance with the SRMS/OBSS (Shuttle Remote Manipulator System/Orbiter Boom Sensor System).

“The focused inspection meeting will be conducted at 10 pm on Sunday, 11/16, (assuming launch on 11/14) to determine whether there are any focused inspection requirements in the starboard wingtip area which would necessitate delaying MPLM installation until after the focused inspection is completed.”

An additional note related to the sensors on the Wing Leading Edge - known as the WLE IDS (Impact Detection System) which has registered a number of hits to the wing on orbit - though most aren’t actual impacts. This is due to the sensitivity of the system, which has since been refined.

“The Orbiter project also reviewed their new screening criteria for Wing Leading Edge sensor indications, which will reduce the number of false positives.”

Endeavour’s crew, led by Commander Chris Ferguson, also arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, following a T-38 ride from their home base in Houston.

Meanwhiile, Atlantis - now having to wait until at least May, 09, for an opportunity to fly on the flagship mission of servicing Hubble - has completed de-stack operations from her ET-127 stack, for a return to the home comforts of OPF-1.

Following demate operations over the past few days, Atlantis was lifted over into the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), in preparation for being towed back to OPF-1 - as opposed to being placed on the OTS (Orbiter Transporter System).

Engineers lowered Atlantis’ landing gear via a ground control unit - which is also used in the OPF to raise and lower the gear for checkouts and final retraction, via an interface box in the cabin which plugs into the gear control system. This is connected via a long cable through an open panel in the hatch.

Atlantis was spotted back in OPF-1 at 23:30.

Uma Homenagem à Phoenix Mars Lander

01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 <3

Depois de uma missão de enorme sucesso, a Phoenix Mars Lander deixou recentemente de emitir sinais para a Terra, tal como era previsto, com o início do Inverno Marciano. Como o Sol já não incide sobre os painéis solares da Phoenix, esta foi perdendo potência até que se tornou impossível continuar a operar. Há uma esperança, muito ténue, de que volte a funcionar no fim do Inverno Marciano. Mas isto não está previsto, deveremos considerar esta missão terminada, e de enorme sucesso! Parabéns à NASA e ao Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)!

Fonte: Wired

Mars Phoenix Lander Runs Out of Juice
By Alexis Madrigal Email
November 10, 2008

The phenomenally popular Mars Phoenix Lander mission has officially come to an end.

Originally slated for a mere 90 days near the Martian north pole, clever NASA power engineers kept the Lander doing science for nearly two months beyond that goal. But now mission officials are certain: The lander has run out of power for its internal heater and is presumed to be frozen on the arctic plain.

"At this time, we're pretty convinced that the vehicle is no longer available for us to use," said Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We're ceasing operations and declaring an end to mission operations at this point."

As late as last week, the team was still trying to eke a few more experiments out of the robotic lander, even as the declining amount of solar energy in the pole area made their task more difficult.

The mission's legacy, however, will not be defined by its longevity so much as by its problem-light successes and legions of fans. Driven by a clever social media strategy that built a huge Twitter following, the NASA mission struck a chord with space lovers, who watched with rapt attention as the lander made a picture-perfect landing and proceeded to become the first human spacecraft to "taste" Martian water.

"If we're successful, this mission will be remembered for being the first to do direct analysis of ice or water on the surface of Mars," predicted NASA's Mike Gross, who engineered the mission's scientific instrumentation, back in May.

Indeed, Phoenix primary investigator, Peter Smith, led off his eulogy for the Lander noting that his team discovered ice, before recounting the mission's success measuring Martian weather and finding perchlorate, a known energy source for some microbes on Earth.

"It's been a great mission, a highlight of my life," Smith said.

It will take months to analyze the 25,000 photographs and the data from the dozens of experiments that the Lander conducted over the last several months, but the mission is already seen as a major success for relatively cheap robotic missions. At $480 million, the Phoenix lander cost about as much as a single Shuttle mission.

In fact, the mission's biggest failure — not finding evidence of life — doesn't have much to do with the execution of the mission so much as the Red Planet itself.

"We've seen nutrients and energy sources," Smith said. "That leads to the question: Is this a habitable zone?"

But, just like the mission, Smith left the ultimate question of extraterrestrial life unanswered, saying just that his team needed time to go back to their labs and examine the data from the mission in greater detail.

@MarsPhoenix, the lively voice of the lander, sent her last message six minutes ago.

"01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 <3,">

That's binary for "Triumph," and the herald of a new digital-savvy era for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

sábado, 30 de agosto de 2008

Últimas notícias: Presidente da NASA pede para que se avalie a possibilidade de operar o Shuttle até 2015!

A NASA está a aproximar-se de uma situação crítica para o período entre 2010 e 2015. Está neste momento previsto que o Shuttle deixe de operar em 2010, e que o seu sucessor, a Orion, só entre em funcionamento em 2015 - se tudo correr bem, o que não está a acontecer. Durante esse período, os EUA dependerão totalmente da Rússia para colocar astronautas a bordo da Estação Espacial Internacional!

Com o azedar das relações entre os EUA e a Rússia, decorrente da recente guerra na Geórgia, é bem possível que os EUA se vejam afastados da ISS durante, pelo menos, esses 5 anos! E não nos esqueçamos que a ISS foi, em grande parte, construída pelos EUA!

Assim, e contrariando as afirmações recentes de Wayne Hale (ver último post), o presidente da NASA Michael Griffin veio agora pedir que se estude a viabilidade de manter o Space Shuttle em operações durante esse período de 5 anos.

Pessoalmente considero esta uma notícia de enorme importância, e extremamente positiva. Espero que dê tempo à NASA para reavaliar (cancelar?) o desastroso projecto Orion, e lhe permita criar um novo sistema de acesso ao Espaço que seja realmente inovador e económico.

Fonte: Orlando Sentinel

EXCLUSIVE: NASA to study extending shuttle era to 2015
posted by Mark Matthews on Aug 29, 2008 12:12:22 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL -- NASA Administrator Michael Griffin has ordered his subordinates to study how the agency could fly the space shuttle beyond its planned retirement in 2010, according to an internal e-mail obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

The decision signals what could be a huge change in NASA policy. Griffin repeatedly has rejected the notion of extending the shuttle era beyond its 2010 retirement date, arguing it could cripple the fledgling Constellation program, a system of new rockets and capsules meant to replace the shuttle in 2015.

But Griffin has been under enormous external pressure. Sen. John McCain recently asked the White House to stop dismantling parts of the shuttle program for at least a year. At the same time, eroding relations with Russia have motivated lawmakers to find a way to fill the five-year gap between the shuttle's retirement and the maiden voyage of Constellation in 2015. The current plan calls for NASA to buy Russian spacecraft during the gap.

One NASA official said such "what-if studies" represent "prudent planning," especially in light of suggestions made by McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, who would dictate the agency's future if he captures the White House.

But the email, sent on Wednesday, August 27, by John Coggeshall, manager of "Manifest and Schedules" at Johnson Space Center in Houston, suggested that the analysis was more than just a contingency study.

"We want to focus on helping bridge the gap of US vehicles travelling to the ISS as efficiently as possible," it said.

The upcoming study raised the idea of retiring one of the three remaining orbiters, possibly for spare parts. "(We) don't necessarily need all 3 orbiters either," said the email. "We have been encouraged not to focus on a certain set of assumptions or costs," said the email.

But cost has been the exact reason why Griffin has dismissed the idea of extending the shuttle era. To have enough money to build Constellation's Ares 1 rocket and Orion crew capsule, NASA must spending stop money on shuttle flights. At one point last year, he estimated that it would cost as much as $4 billion a year to fly the shuttle beyond 2010.

NASA' current budget is about $17 billion.

"Continuing to fly the Shuttle beyond 2010 does not enhance U.S. human spaceflight capability, but rather delays the time until a new capability exists and increases the total life cycle cost to bring the new capability on line," he told Congress in November.

Another worry: NASA already has begun unplugging parts of the shuttle system. It has already terminated many contracts with vendors who make shuttle parts and NASA facilities already have begun converting its systems to handle the new Constellation program.

Wayne Hale, a NASA deputy assistant administrator and until recently the shuttle-program manager, has said that this fall marks the point of no return. That's when NASA is supposed to start ripping out the giant welding equipment and other machinery at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which makes the shuttle's giant external fuel tank.

In a blog posted Thursday, Hale said that flying shuttle and building Constellation would strain NASA's budgets and overextend its workforce. "Hey, I am the biggest shuttle hugger there is. I think it is the best spacecraft ever built. But I also deal in the real world," he wrote.

"Where does the money come from? Where do the people -- who should be working on the moon rocket -- where do they come from? We started shutting down the shuttle four years ago. That horse has left the barn," he wrote.

Email referido no artigo acima:

From: Coggeshall, John C. (JSC-MA)
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 4:23 PM
To: Larochelle, Joseph K. (JSC-OM); Fuller, Sean M. (JSC-OC); Gensler, Janejit T. (JSC-OM3); Feldman, Holly (JSC-OM); Overton, Thomas L. (KSC); Ford, Clark D. (KSC); Magendie, Brian (MAF-NASA_MAF)[Lockheed Martin Space Systems Com; Dwyer, Kenneth J. (JSC-MV6); Jackson, Melodie M. (KSC); 'Lemoine, Patrick K. (KSC)[USA]'; Davidson, Dennis R. (JSC-MM)

Cc: Lyons, Douglass E. (KSC); Phillips, Pepper (KSC); Wyche, Vanessa E. (JSC-ZD); Castle, Robert E. (JSC-ZD); Beck, Kelly B. (JSC-DA); Rasco, Dorothy S. (JSC-MM)

Subject: Shuttle extension assessment

The SSP program in conjunction with Cx and ISS have been asked by the administrator to put together some manifest options to assess extending shuttle flights to 2015. SSP would like to have some options developed for review by senior management by the end of September. The result of the review might be a formal budget assessment of a option(s).

We will start by using the manifest team to put together a option(s). I would like to start getting some initial thoughts next week. What I want to do is focus in on initially is what would make sense given the current conditions with ISS and Cx. We have been encouraged not to focus on a certain set of assumptions or costs. We will probably develop multiple options. In my initial discussions with John these are the things I would like to think about

- We cant just spread out the 10 flights to 2015, that does not support ISS requirements
- We will need some new ETs and that’s the long lead item so we may need a little "streching".
- We will have to put orbiters in OMDP
- We don’t want to get in the way of Cx development by holding on to facilities they need (HB3, MLP, Pad , Crawler, Engine Test stands etc)

- Flight rate is not given
- Don’t necessarily need all 3 orbiters either

We want to focus on helping bridge the gap of US vehicles traveling to the ISS as efficiently as possible.

Joe LaRochelle will have some preliminary ISS requirements for us next week, and Ken is going to work on OMDP thoughts.

Thanks, and this should actually be fun. Well as fun as anything gets if you’re a manifest dweeb.

John Coggeshall
JSC-MA / Manifest and Schedules

quinta-feira, 28 de agosto de 2008

Wayne Hale: o programa Shuttle está a ser desmantelado há 4 anos!

Uma grande alhada que se aproxima para a NASA e para os Estados Unidos. Há já alguns anos que a NASA se prepara para terminar o programa Space Shuttle em 2010, o que irá deixar os Estados Unidos dependentes da Rússia para colocar astronautas na Estação Espacial Internacional até que, por voltas de 2015, as cápsulas Orion estejam prontas a voar.

A alhada vem do seguinte: o desenvolvimento das Orion tem deparado com inúmeros problemas, que tem gradualmente levado o programa a reduzir a importância dos seus objectivos e a adiar a data provável da sua entrada em funcionamento.

Por outro lado, o agravamento das tensões entre o Ocidente e a Rússia vem pôr em dúvida a possibilidade dos EUA usarem as cápsulas russas Soyuz para levarem astronautas americanos até à ISS!

Ou seja, podemos vir a deparar com a situação caricata dos Estados Unidos estarem impossibilitados de tripular com astronautas americanos a Estação Espacial que eles próprios construiram!!!

Esta situação tem levado os actuais candidatos à Casa Branca a propôr o prolongamento das missões do Space Shuttle por mais um ou dois anos, por forma a minimizar este lapso de tempo.

Agora Wayne Hale, Director do Programa Space Shuttle, vem dizer que tal será impossível, ou pelo menos extremamente caro. Um reality check doloroso para a NASA! Leiam e chorem.

Fonte: Space Review

Shutting down the shuttle

I believe it was General Norman Schwartzkopf who said: "Arm chair generals study tactics; real generals study logistics".

One of the first lessons I learned in program and project management is that attention to the details of supplies, vendors, and parts manufacturers will determine success or failure more than anything else that management does. They are not glamorous, Hollywood does not make movies made about them, but logistics and supply chain are the unsung pillars on which every major project rests.

It is nice to have eloquent oratory and high flown philosophical statements, but the real way that real programs are really controlled is through the money. When the logistics and supply budget is stopped, the program is over. Momentum and warehoused supplies can carry on for a short period, but when those are exhausted, its time for the museum.

Starting four years ago, the shuttle program in its various projects made "lifetime buys". That is, we bought enough piece parts to fly all the flights on the manifest plus a prudent margin of reserves. Then we started sending out termination letters. About two years ago, we terminated 95% of the vendors for parts for the external tank project, for example. Smaller, but still significant, percentages of vendors for SSME, Orbiter, and RSRB have also been terminated.

A lot of things that go into the shuttle build up are specialty items. Electronics parts that nobody makes any more (1970's vintage stuff). Hey, if it works, why invest money in certifying new parts? Certifying new ones would be even more costly! Specialty alloys to meet the extraordinary demands of space flight, parts that are made by Mom and Pop shops mostly in the LA basin are norm rather than the exception. You might think that simple things like bolts and screws, wire, filters, and gaskets could be bought off the shelf some where, but that thinking would merely prove how little you know about the shuttle. The huge majority of supplies, consumable items, maintenance items, they are all specially made with unique and stringent processes and standards.

Our shuttle history tells us that when we try to cut corners, trouble results. Small, even apparently insignificant changes have caused big problems. For example, the unheralded end of production of a solvent caused enormous complications for the SRB folks a few years back when things started falling apart unexpectedly. It took a huge engineering detective effort to determine that small chemical changes in the new solvent were the culprit. Anything coming apart in the SRB is not good. There are hundreds of similar examples.

There is a long and arduous process to certify a vendor to produce the logistical parts for the shuttle. Not many companies do this work. Almost all of them are extraordinarily proud of the role they play in America's space program. A lot of them have been there from the beginnings in the middle 1970s. So when a Mom and Pop specialty shop gets a termination letter from the shuttle program after 35 years of production and they have other customers, guess what happens? Mom and Pop decide to close the shop, pension off their highly skilled workers, and then Mom and Pop move out of LA to their retirement cottage in the mountains or at the sea shore.

A lot of this has been happening over the last four years; most of it over two years ago.

So, just for the sake of argument, lets see what would happen if somehow we decided to fly the shuttle some more flights?

From time to time a vendor of specialty parts for the shuttle has gone out of business. Our experience then is that we have immense problems getting anybody to even bid on making replacement items. Sometimes, with hat in hand, we have to knock on doors. Always, we have to offer premium payments to get those exotic, small production run parts made.

Given time and money, anything is possible. But we are always short on time and money. Life seems to be like that.

To take one little example: if we started today to build another external tank at MAF, there are probably enough parts on the shelf. But very shortly we would exhaust supplies of some parts. Maybe on the second tank -- which we need to start in 3 months or so -- would have to get a new supply of specialty parts. Sometimes the old vendor is still there and could be persuaded to make more of the old parts. But in many cases, a new vendor would have to be found. Since the production run would be small, a premium price would have to be paid; and a certification effort requiring 6 to 12 months would start. Initial production likely would have a number of rejects as the workers learn the process. Hmm. In probably 15 to 18 months would would have the parts to build that second tank -- only a year or so later than we needed them. So a new gap would form. Not between shuttle and orion but between shuttle and shuttle.

And what would we get: even higher price per flight of an old technology which is not nearly as safe as we would like . . .

Hey, I am the biggest shuttle hugger there is. I think it is the best spacecraft ever built. But I also deal in the real world.

Where does the money come from? Where do the people -- who should be working on the moon rocket -- where do they come from?

We started shutting down the shuttle four years ago. That horse has left the barn.

sexta-feira, 15 de agosto de 2008

Lançamento de um Space Shuttle filmado de um avião

A missão é possivelmente a STS-124, e o lançamento foi filmado de um vôo da Air Canada.

Nota: Artigos no NASAWatch e noutros sites colocam em dúvida tratar-se de um lançamento de um Space Shuttle, apontando para a maior probabilidade de se tratar do lançamento de um satélite do sistema GPS, por um foguetão Delta.

sexta-feira, 8 de agosto de 2008

Os Caçadores de Mitos na Lua!

Vai haver um episódio dos 'Caçadores de Mitos' dedicado a desmentir a teoria da conspiração de que as missões à Lua foram uma fraude, e filmadas num estúdio secreto, algures. Fica aqui uma antevisão do episódio que irá para o ar em breve nos EUA. Espero que não demore muito a chegar a Portugal!

O Módulo Lunar parece-me espetacular!

domingo, 3 de agosto de 2008

Eclipse total do Sol de Sexta-Feira visto de um avião

Estas imagens espetaculares foram captadas de um avião e mostram com grande clareza o percurso da sombra do eclipse - prestem bem atenção, porque a sombra acompanha o percurso do eclipse!

sábado, 2 de agosto de 2008

Descoberta em Marte está a ser mantida em segredo

Ainda não se sabe o que é que a sonda Phoenix descobriu em Marte que seja tão importante que a NASA tenha decidido informar o Presidente Bush - mantendo a informação em segredo para o resto do Mundo. Mas em breve, talvez em meados do mês de Agosto, iremos saber.

Fonte: Universe Today

The White House is Briefed: Phoenix About to Announce "Potential For Life" on Mars
Written by Ian O'Neill

It would appear that the US President has been briefed by Phoenix scientists about the discovery of something more "provocative" than the discovery of water existing on the Martian surface. This news comes just as the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) confirmed experimental evidence for the existence of water in the Mars regolith on Thursday. Whilst NASA scientists are not claiming that life once existed on the Red Planet's surface, new data appears to indicate the "potential for life" more conclusively than the TEGA water results. Apparently these new results are being kept under wraps until further, more detailed analysis can be carried out, but we are assured that this announcement will be huge…

So why is there all this secrecy? According to scientists in communication with Aviation Week & Space Technology, the next big discovery will need to be mulled over for a while before it is announced to the world. In fact, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory science team for the MECA wet-chemistry instrument that made these undisclosed findings were kept out of the July 31st news conference (confirming water) so additional analysis could be carried out, avoiding any questions that may have revealed their preliminary results. They have also made the decision to discuss the results with the Bush Administration's Presidential Science Advisor's office before a press conference between mid-August and early September.

Although good news, Thursday's announcement of the discovery of water on Mars comes as no surprise to mission scientists and some are amused by the media's reaction to the TEGA results. "They have discovered water on Mars for the third or fourth time," one senior Mars scientist joked. These new MECA results are, according to the Phoenix team, a little more complex than the water "discovery." Scientists are keen to point out however, that this secretive news will in no way indicate the existence of life (past or present) on Mars; Phoenix simply is not equipped make this discovery. What it can do is test the Mars soil for compounds suitable to support life. The MECA instrument does have microscopes capable of resolving bacterial-scale life forms however, but this is not the focus of the forthcoming announcement, sources say.

This new MECA discovery, combined with TEGA data will probably expose something more compelling, completing another piece of the puzzle in the search for the correct conditions for life as we know it to survive on Mars. Critical to this search is to understand how the recently confirmed water and Mars regolith behave together under the Phoenix lander in the cold Martian arctic.

The MECA instrument had already made the landmark discovery that Mars "soil" was much like the soil more familiar on Earth. This finding prompted scientists to indicate that the minerals and pH levels in the regolith could support some terrestrial plants, indicating this would be useful for future Mars settlers.

What with the discovery of water, and the discovery that Mars soil is very much like the stuff we find on Earth, it is hard to guess as to what the MECA's second soil test has discovered. What ever it is, it sounds pretty significant, especially as NASA and the University of Arizona are taking extraordinary steps to avoid any more details being leaked to the outside world. I just hope were not getting excited over something benign…

Barack Obama promete apoiar o programa espacial da NASA

Entre outras promessas, Obama admite que haja mais uma missão do Space Shuttle, por forma a diminuir o espaço de tempo entre a última missão do Shuttle e a primeira do Projecto Orion.

Mmmm, ver para crer. No seu projecto de campanha, Obama já referiu fazer cortes no orçamento da NASA para aumentar as despesas com a educação. Embora concorde que nos EUA se deva gastar mais - e melhor - em educação, acho pessoalmente que os EUA não devam fazê-lo sacrificando precisamente o organismo que faz a ciência e a investigação andar para a frente - a NASA.

Leiam os dois artigos abaixo.


Obama vows support for NASA, additional shuttle flight
CBS Space News
Posted: 2:15 PM, 8/2/08
By William Harwood
CBS News Space Consultant

2:15 PM, 8/2/08, Update: Obama vows to support NASA; supports additional shuttle flight; will work to 'close the gap' between shuttle and its replacement

Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, held a town hall meeting near the Kennedy Space Center today and vowed strong support for NASA, saying he favors at least one shuttle flight beyond the 10 missions left on the agency's manifest. Obama also said he would work to close the gap between the end of shuttle operations in 2010 and the debut of the Orion spacecraft that will replace it and said earlier reports that he would divert money from NASA's next manned spacecraft to education were unfounded.

Obama was introduced to an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,300 at the Brevard Community College by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who flew as a payload specialist aboard the shuttle Columbia in 1986. In his opening remarks, Obama delivered his most detailed statement yet on space policy as NASA implements the Bush administration's drive to complete the space station and retire the shuttle fleet by the end of fiscal 2010.

NASA hopes to replace the shuttle with smaller Orion capsules and huge, unmanned cargo boosters, known collectively as the Constellation program. The goal is to use Orion spacecraft to carry astronauts to and from the station while developing the heavy-lift Ares 5 rocket that will help NASA establish a moon base around 2020.

Under the Bush administration's plan, the money to pay for the Constellation program primarily will come from funds that now go to the shuttle and space station programs. The Orion spacecraft and its Ares 1 booster are under development, but near-term funding shortfalls will result in a four- to five-year gap between the end of shuttle operations and the advent of routine operations with Orion. During that gap, U.S. astronauts will be forced to hitch rides to the station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

It has been widely reported in space circles that Obama earlier vowed to reduce spending for the Constellation program in favor of education initiatives. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, said in a statement last week marking NASA's 50th anniversary that "under current plans, the United States will retire the space shuttle in 2010 after its final mission to the international space station, and thus lose the capability to send on our own, an American to space."

"While my opponent seems content to retreating from American exploration of space for a decade, I am not," McCain said in the statement. "As president, I will act to make ensure our astronauts will continue to explore space, and not just by hitching a ride with someone else. I intend to make sure that the NASA Constellation program has the resources it needs so that we can begin a new era of human space exploration. A country that sent a man to the moon should expect no less."

Today, Obama said he supports the Constellation program and will work to narrow the gap between the end of shuttle operations and the advent of Orion.

"I know it's still being reported that we were talking about delaying some aspects of the Constellation program to pay for our early education program," he said. "I told my staff we're going to find an entirely different offset because we've got to make sure that the money that's going into NASA for basic research and development continues to go there. That has been a top priority for us. This is an administration that's been anti-science. Whether it's on stem cell research, whether it's on climate change, they have rejected science. I want to reverse that trend, I want us to be a science-based society and I want us to invest in science."

Obama expanded on that theme in his opening remarks today, saying "we've got to rebuild our economy in a much more fundamental way. We've got to secure our long-term prosperity and strengthen our economy for the 21st century."

"One of the areas where we're in danger of losing our competitive edge is in science and technology and nothing symbolizes that more than our space program," Obama said. "I've written about this in my book, I grew up in Hawaii and I still remember sitting on my grandfather's shoulders as some of the astronauts were brought in after their capsules had landed in the middle of the Pacific. I could just barely see them, I was waving, I had an American flag, and I remember my grandfather explaining to me this is what America's all about, we can do anything when we put our mind to it.

"And that was what the space program described, that sense of possibility and always reaching out to new frontiers. When I was growing up, NASA inspired the world with achievements that we're still proud of. And today we have an administration that sets ambitious goals for NASA without giving NASA the support it needs to reach them. As a result, NASA's had to cut back on research, trim their program, which means that after the space shuttle shuts down in 2010 we're going to have to rely on Russian spacecraft to keep us in orbit.

"So let me be clear," he said. "We cannot cede our leadership in space. That's why I'm going to close the gap, ensure that our space program doesn't suffer when the shuttle goes out of service. We may extend an additional shuttle launch, we're going to work with Bill Nelson to add at least one more flight beyond 2010 by continuing to support NASA funding, by speeding the development of the shuttle's successor, by making sure that all those that work in the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the shuttle is retired. Because we cannot afford to lose their expertise."

The additional shuttle flight presumably would be devoted to launching the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a major physics experiment that lost its ride to the space station in the push to finish the station and retire the shuttle by the end of fiscal 2010. Nelson and other NASA supporters in Congress favor the additional flight, but the Bush administration opposes the additional expense.

"But more broadly, we need a real vision for the next stage of space exploration," Obama continued. "And to help formulate this vision, I'm going to re-establish the national aeronautics and space council so we can develop a plan to explore the solar system, a plan that involves both human and robotic missions, enlist both international partners and the private sector. And as America leads the world in the long-term exploration of the moon and Mars and beyond, let's also tap NASA's ingenuity to build the airplanes of tomorrow and to study our own planet so we can combat global climate change.

"Under my watch, NASA will inspire the world once again and make America stronger and it's going to help grow the economy right here in Brevard County and right here in Florida. That's what we're going to do. That's what this election's all about. It's about raising our sights, seizing the moment, reclaiming our destiny."

Obama: cut Constellation to pay for education
November 20, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama released today the education plan he would enact if elected. The full 15-page plan includes a variety of proposals, including reforming early education programs. The last section of the plan, titled “A Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility” explains how he would pay for these initiatives. The passage of relevance here: “The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years,” among other steps. According to MSNBC, Obama would leave in place $500 million/year for Constellation’s “manufacturing and technology base”, but would otherwise transfer the funding to the education effort. None of the campaign’s official statements or other media reports indicate any alternative measures the campaign would take to address what, on its face, would appear to be a five-year delay in the introduction of Ares 1, Orion, and the other main components of NASA’s current exploration architecture.

(A potentially ironic item, depending on your opinion on the importance of Constellation: one other section of the Obama education plan is titled “Make Math and Science Education a National Priority”.)

The Republican National Committee has criticized the move to delay Constellation, The Hill reports, quoting RNC spokesman Danny Diaz: “It is ironic that Barack Obama’s plan to help our children reach for the stars is financed in part by slashing a program that helps us learn about those very same stars.”

sexta-feira, 4 de julho de 2008

A Imagem do Dia

O que é isto?

Clique na imagem para obter a explicação!

terça-feira, 24 de junho de 2008

Buzz Lightyear em órbita!

Tal como disse aqui aquando do lançamento da missão STS 124, o herói de 'Toy Story' Buzz Lightyear entrou em órbita, e aqui está a prova!

terça-feira, 17 de junho de 2008

Aterragem do Space Shuttle Discovery, no Sábado

É com algum atraso que coloco aqui as imagens e o vídeo da aterragem da missão STS-124, mas vale sempre a pena ver estes acontecimentos espetaculares! Como sempre, clique nas imagens para aumentar.

quinta-feira, 5 de junho de 2008

Novas fotos fabulosas de Saturno e das suas luas, enviadas pela sonda Cassini

A sonda Cassini está em órbita de Saturno há já quatro anos. Como homenagem aqui ficam algumas das imagens mais impressionantes que já vi de Saturno e das suas Luas. Clique nas imagens para as ver em tamanho maior, ou, se preferir, vá ao site do, onde estas são apresentadas em tamanho maior.


Saturno com o Sol do lado oposto.

Remoínhos nos topos das núvens em Saturno.

A superfície de Dione, a curta distância.

A pequena lua Janus, com Titã por detrás dos anéis de Saturno.


O horizonte de Saturno, visto através dos seus anéis.


Um 'nó' num dos anéis exteriores de Saturno.

A lua Hipérion, a curta distância.

A lua Encélado, com Saturno em 2º plano.

O Pólo Sul de Saturno.

De novo Mimas, com os anéis em segundo plano.

domingo, 1 de junho de 2008

Vídeo do lançamento do Discovery STS-124

Em breve colocarei neste blog a minha selecção do costume de vídeos amadores.

Neste lançamento é notável a nitidez com que foi focada a separação dos motores auxiliares de combustível sólido (SRBs - Solid Rocket Boosters). É incrível a qualidade das ópticas dos dias de hoje!

Esta missão levava como passageiro Buzz Lightyear, conhecido pela sua participação no filme 'Toy Story'. Adequadamente, passou por uma bateria de testes, com a orientação do astronauta Buzz Aldrin (o segundo astronauta a andar na Lua!)

sábado, 31 de maio de 2008

Space Shuttle lançado com êxito

Mais fotos e vídeos em breve.

Fonte: MSNBC

Shuttle Discovery heads to space station
Loaded aboard is $1 billion school-bus-size science lab
The Associated Press
updated 5:27 p.m. ET May 31, 2008

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Space shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven blasted into orbit Saturday, carrying a giant Japanese lab addition to the international space station along with something more mundane — a toilet pump.

Discovery roared into a brilliant blue sky dotted with a few clouds at 5:02 p.m., right on time.

The shuttle's trip to the space station should take two days. Once there, Discovery's crew will unload and install the $1 billion lab and hand-deliver a specially made pump for the outpost's finicky toilet.

The school-bus-size lab, named Kibo, Japanese for hope, will be the biggest room by far at the space station and bring the orbiting outpost to three-quarters of completion.

"It's a gorgeous day to launch," NASA's launch director, Mike Leinbach, told the astronauts just before liftoff, wishing them good luck and Godspeed. Commander Mark Kelly noted that Kibo was the "hope for the space station," then radioed: "Now stand by for the greatest show on Earth!"

Nearly 400 Japanese journalists, space program officials and other guests jammed NASA's launch site, their excitement growing as the hours, then minutes counted down.

Their enthusiasm was catchy.

"This is a real milestone," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said.

The Japanese lab is 37 feet long and more than 32,000 pounds, and fills Discovery's entire payload bay. The first part of the lab flew up in March, and the third and final section will be launched next year.

The entire lab, with all its pieces, cost more than $2 billion.

A large political contingent was also on hand led by Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who is newly married to Kelly, Discovery's commander. They invited numerous bigwigs from Arizona and Washington.

Giffords acknowledged being nervous, far more so than the day she was elected to Congress in 2006.

"It's a risky job. I'm pleased that the vehicle's in good shape, the weather is beautiful. They've had no problems," she told The Associated Press. "But you don't really relax" until the shuttle is back from its two-week mission.

Kelly's brother, Scott, didn't need an invitation to the launch — he's also a space shuttle commander. They're identical twins.

Scott Kelly said it was more nerve-racking to watch his brother launch than to be strapped in himself. Their parents and 91-year-old grandmother are always anxious on launch day, he said.

"I know my grandmother, she would rather I work at Wal-Mart," Scott Kelly said, chuckling, before liftoff.

Three spacewalks are planned during Discovery's 14-day flight, to install Kibo, replace an empty nitrogen-gas tank and try out various cleaning methods on a clogged solar-wing rotating joint. The shuttle crew is made up of six Americans and one Japanese.

The space station's two Russian residents, meanwhile, will put in the new toilet pump. For more than a week, the three occupants have had to manually flush the toilet with extra water several times a day, a time-consuming, water-wasting job.

NASA and Russian space officials are hoping that the pump — which was rushed to Kennedy Space Center from Moscow just this past week — gets the toilet back in normal working order.

One of Discovery's astronauts, Gregory Chamitoff, will move into the space station for a six-month stay. He'll replace Garrett Reisman, who will return to Earth aboard the shuttle.

Also hitching a ride to the space station is Buzz Lightyear. The 12-inch (30-centimeter) action figure — made famous in the 1995 Disney film "Toy Story" — is part of NASA's "toys in space" educational program for elementary students and their teachers.

quarta-feira, 28 de maio de 2008

Sonda Phoenix fotografada da órbita de Marte

Mais um trabalho da câmera HiRISE, do Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, que mostra em grande detalhe o local de aterragem da Phoenix em Marte. Clique nas imagens para aumentar.

Começou a contagem decrescente para a próxima missão do Space Shuttle

Aqui fica a descrição da contagem, à qual devem ser somadas 5 horas para obter a hora de Lisboa.

Fonte: Email da CBS Space News


Wed 05/28/08

02:30 PM......Call to stations
03:00 PM......Countdown begins

Thu 05/29/08

01:00 AM......Fuel cell reactant load preps
06:30 AM......SRB master events controller power up
07:00 AM......Clear crew module

07:00 AM......Begin 4-hour built-in hold
07:00 AM......Clear blast danger area
07:45 AM......Orbiter pyro-initiator controller test
07:55 AM......SRB pyro initiator test
08:55 AM......Master events controller pre-flight BITE test
11:00 AM......Resume countdown

12:30 PM......Fuel cell oxygen loading begins
03:00 PM......Fuel cell oxygen load complete
03:00 PM......Fuel cell hydrogen loading begins
05:30 PM......Fuel cell hydrogen loading complete
06:30 PM......Pad open; ingress white room

07:00 PM......Begin 8-hour built-in hold (240-pound LO2 offload)
11:00 PM......Crew module clean and vacuum
11:30 PM......Fuel cell loading boom demate

Fri 05/30/08

01:00 AM......Secure mobile launch platform interior
03:00 AM......Countdown resumes

03:00 AM......Main engine preps
03:00 AM......Master event controllers 1 and 2 on; avionics system checkout
04:00 AM......Remove OMS engine covers, throat plugs
04:30 AM......Deflate rotating service structure dock seals; tile inspection
05:00 AM......Tile inspection
09:00 AM......Tail service mast prepped for fueling

11:00 AM......Begin 13-hour 37-minute hold
12:45 PM......Crew weather briefing
01:30 PM......OIS communications check
02:20 PM......JSC flight control team on station
03:30 PM......Comm activation
04:00 PM......Crew module voice checks
05:00 PM......Flight crew equipment late stow
05:30 PM......Debris inspection
08:30 PM......RSS moved to park position
09:30 PM......Final tile, debris inspection
10:30 PM......Ascent switch list

Sat 05/31/08

12:37 AM......Resume countdown

12:37 AM......Astronaut support personnel cockpit config
12:57 AM......Pad clear of non-essential personnel
12:57 AM......Hydaulic power unit bite test
01:47 AM......Fuel cell activation
02:37 AM......Booster joint heater activation
03:07 AM......MEC pre-flight bite test
03:22 AM......Tanking weather update
04:07 AM......Final fueling preps; launch area clear
04:37 AM......Red crew assembled
05:22 AM......Fuel cell integrity checks complete

05:37 AM......Begin 2-hour built-in hold (T-minus 6 hours)
05:47 AM......Safe-and-arm PIC test
06:30 AM......Crew wakeup
06:37 AM......External tank ready for loading
06:52 AM......Mission management team tanking meeting
07:37 AM......Resume countdown (T-minus 6 hours)

07:37 AM......Liquid oxygen (LO2), hydrogen (LH2) transfer line chilldown
07:47 AM......Main propulsion system chill down
07:47 AM......LH2 slow fill
08:17 AM......LO2 slow fill
08:22 AM......Hydrogen ECO sensors go wet
08:27 AM......LO2 fast fill
08:37 AM......LH2 fast fill
10:32 AM......LH2 topping
10:37 AM......LH2 replenish
10:37 AM......LO2 replenish

10:37 AM......Begin 2-hour 30-minute built-in hold (T-minus 3 hours)
10:37 AM......Closeout crew to white room
10:37 AM......External tank in stable replenish mode
10:52 AM......Astronaut support personnel comm checks
11:22 AM......Pre-ingress switch reconfig
11:40 AM......Crew breakfast/photo op (recorded)
12:00 PM......NASA television launch coverage begins
12:32 PM......Final crew weather briefing
12:42 PM......Crew suit up begins
01:07 PM......Resume countdown (T-minus 3 hours)

01:12 PM......Crew departs O&C building
01:42 PM......Crew ingress
02:32 PM......Astronaut comm checks
02:47 PM......Hatch closure
03:27 PM......White room closeout

03:47 PM......Begin 10-minute built-in hold (T-minus 20m)
03:57 PM......NASA test director countdown briefing
03:57 PM......Resume countdown (T-minus 20m)

03:58 PM......Backup flight computer to OPS 1
04:02 PM......KSC area clear to launch

04:08 PM......Begin final built-in hold (T-minus 9m)
04:38 PM......NASA test director launch status verification
04:53:11 PM...Resume countdown (T-minus 9m)

04:54:41 PM...Orbiter access arm retraction
04:57:11 PM...Launch window opens
04:57:11 PM...Hydraulic power system (APU) start
04:57:16 PM...Terminate LO2 replenish
04:58:11 PM...Purge sequence 4 hydraulic test
04:58:11 PM...IMUs to inertial
04:58:16 PM...Aerosurface profile
04:58:41 PM...Main engine steering test
04:59:16 PM...LO2 tank pressurization
04:59:36 PM...Fuel cells to internal reactants
04:59:41 PM...Clear caution-and-warning memory
05:00:11 PM...Crew closes visors
05:00:14 PM...LH2 tank pressurization
05:01:21 PM...SRB joint heater deactivation
05:01:40 PM...Shuttle GPCs take control of countdown
05:01:50 PM...SRB steering test
05:02:04 PM...Main engine start (T-6.6 seconds)
05:02:11 PM...SRB ignition (LAUNCH)