Picture-Perfect Launch Into Clear FL Skies
ANN REALTIME UPDATE
08.08.07 1836 EDT: Endeavour has her wings again. For the
first time in over four-and-a-half years, shuttle OV-105 has taken
to the skies, heading towards the International Space Station.
Launch occurred right on schedule, following a near-flawless
countdown. The only problem that cropped up was an issue with one
of the air pressurization sensors on the orbiter's hatch, that
indicated low. However, all others gave proper indications, and
NASA was able to quickly determine the shuttle was, in fact, sealed
Endeavour is scheduled to fly an 11-day mission, but that may be
extended by three extra days if all goes well with deployment of a
power coupling that would allow Endeavour to receive additional
power from the ISS.
1735 EDT: A potential problem with today's
launch of the shuttle Endeavour turned out to need nothing mroe
than a good shove to solve.
Members of the Closeout Crew have run into a problem with
"micro" switches associated with the orbiter's crew hatch. NASA
reports the crews started over by re-opening and closing the hatch
once again in an effort to get a good latch and seal.
That seemed to do the trick, and the closeout crew is now
running final pressurization checks.
Inside Endeavour, the astronauts are now going through final
checks inside the orbiter to prepare for launch, scheduled for one
hour from now. Stay tuned.
1630 EDT: The
crew of STS-118 have taken their seats onboard the space shuttle
NASA reports Commander Kelly was first to be secured in his seat
assisted by the closeout crew. Endeavour's pilot Charlie Hobaugh,
was next on the flight deck. The rest of the flight team was seated
and strapped in while Kelly began powering up the orbiter's general
purpose computer for flight.
Countdown is proceeding smoothly... and the weather forecast
just keeps getting better. At the moment, there's only a 10 percent
chance of weather prohibiting a liftoff in just over two hours from
now. Stay tuned.
1435 EDT: She's ready to go... and so is her
crew. NASA reports conditions remain optimal for today's launch of
the space shuttle Endeavour.
At the launch pad, the final inspection team -- also known as
the "Ice Team" -- is inspecting the space shuttle's exterior,
making sure it is in good condition and free of ice and debris.
Earlier today, Endeavour's orange external tank was filled with
500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. NASA adds all
systems onboard the space shuttle are functioning normally, and
there's only a 20 percent chance of weather prohibiting a liftoff
at 1836 EDT.
The 22nd flight to the International Space Station, STS-118 will
be the first flight for Endeavour since 2002.
We're still good to go. NASA reports that on the morning before
the scheduled liftoff of Space Shuttle Endeavour on the STS-118
mission, launch officials confirmed once again that the countdown
was continuing as planned and no issues have surfaced.
Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters also provided an updated
weather forecast, which has improved even further -- to only a 20%
chance that isolated rain showers could prohibit launch Wednesday
evening at 1836 EDT.
STS-118 will be the first flight for Mission Specialist Barbara
Morgan, the teacher-turned-astronaut whose association with NASA
began more than 20 years ago, when she was the alternate to
schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe on the ill-fated Challenger
mission. Morgan remained associated with NASA following the
tragedy... and in 1998, she was invited by NASA to train for
another shuttle mission, this time as a full-fledged astronaut.
NASA reports First Lady Laura Bush called Morgan Tuesday morning
to offer congratulations "one schoolteacher to another," and to
thank her for her commitment to the space program and to
On Monday night, workers finished loading the reactants for the
orbiter's three power-producing fuel cells. Checks of the space
shuttle main engine's avionics and pneumatic systems were conducted
Tuesday, along with inspections of the external tank, activation of
ground support equipment, and crew equipment stowage in the crew
Orbiter and ground communications systems were powered up
Tuesday afternoon prior to retraction of the pad's rotating service
ANN will provide continuing coverage of Endeavour's launch. Stay