[sarex] NASA's Launch Blog - Mission STS-116
azrowe80 at verizon.net
Thu Dec 7 15:37:29 PST 2006
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/.C #31468
NASA's Launch Blog - Mission STS-116
TIMES ARE EASTERN STANDARD TIMES
NASA's launch blog was activated on December 7, 2006 at 3:25 p.m. EST
+ View All Launch Day Videos
6:19 p.m. - Pilot William Oefelein is the next to enter the orbiter. He
will be followed by Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang of the European
6:17 p.m. - The next crew member to board is Sunita Williams, who is
Mission Specialist 5. She'll be staying behind to serve as Flight
Engineer on the International Space Station when the STS-116 crew
returns to Earth later this month.
6:12 p.m. - As each crew member is suited for entry, orange glow sticks
are tucked into the shoulder pockets on their upper sleeves. Like the
orange suits, the glow sticks are intended to give the astronauts a
means of identifying their locations in the unlikely event of an
emergency landing in darkness.
6:10 p.m. - The astronauts have specific seating designations for each
launch. Often the seating assignments are changed for descent. There is
room for up to four seats in the middeck. As Commander, Mark Polansky
will be the first astronaut to board. He will have the forward-left seat
on the flight deck.
6:07 p.m. - The STS-116 crew has arrived at Launch Pad 39B, where they
are exiting the Astrovan and boarding the elevator of the Fixed Service
Structure for the ride up to the 195-foot level. From here they will
enter the climate-controlled White Room, make their final preparations
and then board the shuttle.
5:54 p.m. - T-2 hours, 45 minutes and counting. Steve Lindsey was just
dropped off at the Shuttle Landing Facility. Now the Astrovan will
continue on to the Launch Control Center, where astronaut Ellen Ochoa,
head of Flight Crew Operations at NASA's Johnson Space Center in
Houston, will exit the van and join her co-workers in the Firing Room
for the remainder of the countdown.
5:47 p.m. - The astronaut convoy is en route to Launch Pad 39B, a
journey that typically takes 20-25 minutes. The "Astrovan" will make two
stops. At one stop they'll let out astroanut Steve Lindsey, who will be
heading to the Shuttle Landing Facility to scout out the weather for
tonight's launch. The second stop is in front of the Launch Control
Center before heading out to the pad.
Steve Lindsey, the weather pilot for this mission, will fly both a T-38
and the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) at different times tonight,
checking the conditions up to launch. The weather coordinator for this
mission is astronaut Dominic Gorie.
5:45 p.m. - Right on time, the STS-116 crew just walked out of the
Operations and Checkout building, cheered on by a crowd of employees.
5:40 p.m. - T-3 hours and counting. There are two remaining holds left
in the count at T-20 minutes and T-9 minutes.
5:30 p.m. - In ten minutes, we'll come out of the T-3 hour built-in hold
and the countdown will resume. Darkness is beginning to fall at Kennedy
Space Center, and the xenon lights out at the launch pad have been
turned on, bathing Discovery and the mobile launcher platform in a
brilliant white glow.
*Did You Know?*
This is the first flight of a space shuttle with an Advanced Health
Monitoring System installed. + Read More
5:19 p.m. - Kathy Winters
launch weather officer, has given Launch Director Mike Leinbach the
latest weather briefing. The winds have "gone red" -- out of limits --
but, in her words, they are only "bumping the constraint" and it is
still possible that our weather could be clear enough to allow for
launch later this evening.
5:09 p.m. - The weather seems to be improving, but it is still too close
to call at the moment. The concerns at Kennedy are low cloud ceilings
and showers in the launch area. Otherwise, the countdown is going rather
well, with the forecast posing the only concern for now.
5:01 p.m. - In the astronaut crew quarters, the crew is receiving a
weather briefing. It's still cloudy at the Florida spaceport, but with
four-and-a-half hours left until launch, there is still time for the
weather to become more cooperative.
More information about the SAREX