TheSonntag
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Official STS-120 Thread

Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:12 pm

So after Endeavour made it back home, it is time to talk about the next launch...

Since Endeavour had some issues, I'd start to ask a few questions...

1. Will STS 120 launch?
2. When will it launch?
3. Will we even see Columbus module on orbit already this year?
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:59 pm

I doubt we'll see much of a delay in the launch of STS-120 Discovery. The schedule for that mission is padded quite a lot already, having been recently pushed back from October 20 to October 23 to deconflict with the Soyuz TMA-10 departure (they want a few days between Soyuz arrival/departure and Shuttle arrival/departure.) So there is plenty of time to think about what to do to the External Tank.

I suspect in the end they won't do anything to the Tank, but they'll get rid of the extra hour in the countdown for the ice inspection team, added post-Columbia but ironically perhaps allowing time for more ice to form... and then break off during ascent.

Discovery is planned to go to the pad three weeks from today, and then spend about two weeks longer on the pad than usual missions. This is so that NASA can start stacking the STS-122 vehicle in High Bay 3 (the only High Bay available until November due to door repairs, High Bay 3 repairs were finished earlier this year) in order to meet STS-122 Atlantis's December 6 launch date.

But a delay in Discovery's rollout (which probably won't impact the STS-120 launch date) will delay the start of stacking for STS-122, so the longer NASA takes to decide what if anything to do about the Tank, the less likely Atlantis will make the December 6-13 launch window.

So it is looking questionable that Columbus will make orbit this year. Perhaps early January.
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:37 am

Here's the scoop on STS-120...

Flight:
STS-120 (120th flight of the Space Shuttle)

Orbiter:
OV-103 Discovery (34th flight of the Discovery)

Crew:
Pamela Melroy, Commander (STS-92, STS-112)
George Zamka, Pilot (Rookie)
Scott Parazynski, Mission Specialist 1 (STS-66, STS-86, STS-95, STS-100)
Stephanie Wilson, Mission Specialist 2 (STS-121)
Douglas Wheelock, Mission Specialist 3 (Rookie)
Paolo Nespoli (Italy), Mission Specialist 4 (Rookie)
Daniel Tani, ISS Expedition 16 (launch) (STS-108)
Clayton Anderson, ISS Expedition 15 (return)

Mission:
International Space Station Aseembly Flight 10A (23rd Shuttle flight to the Space Station)

Payload:
Node 2 "Harmony" (4 Power Distribution Racks, 4 Storage Racks)

Launch:
Tuesday, October 23, 2007 (early afternoon)

Duration:
13 Days

STS-120 will kick off the final phase of construction of the Space Station. It's primary payload is Node 2, which will enable the expansion of the Station with the European "Columbus" (STS-122) and the Japanese "Kibo" laboratory modules (STS-123, STS-124 and STS-127) in 2007-08.

Node 2, recently christened "Harmony", is slightly longer than its sibling, Node 1 (launched in 1998). Where Node 1 "Unity" has accomodations for one ring of four International Standard Payload Racks around its internal circumference, "Harmony" has two rings, for eight racks. One ring is entirely dedicated to transferring power, cooling, and communications between the rest of the Station and the upcoming Columbus and Kibo. The second ring provides much needed storage space. The rest of Harmony is dominated by six hatches, four at 90 degree intervals around the circumference, and one at each end.

Harmony will be temporarily berthed at the Node 1 +y (left, or port side) attach point, across from the Quest airlock module. This temporary parking area is necessary because Discovery will block the position Harmony will ultimately occupy. After Discovery departs, the Pressurized Mating Adapter at the forward end of the Destiny laboratory module will be disconnected from Destiny and mounted at the open end of Harmony. Then Harmony will be relocated to the forward end of Destiny. One spacewalk by the Discovery crew will be performed to hook up temporary connections between Unity and Harmony.

STS-120 will also be highlighted by the relocation of the P6 Solar Array truss segment from its temporary (since 2000) point atop the Z1 module (itself mounted atop Node 1 "Unity") to the left end of the Station's truss. P6's two solar wings were folded up by spacewalking astronauts on STS-116 and STS-117, and its radiator was folded by STS-118's crew last week. STS-118 also relocated a work cart on the truss's "rail system" so that the Mobile Servicer, with its robot arm attached, can reach the end of the truss for the P6 re-installation. The STS-120 crew will then also unfold the two solar wings of P6. This will effectively increase the Space Station's electrical power by 50%.

STS-120 promises to be a visually exciting spaceflight, with a lot of action.

Discovery has now been updated with the new Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System, which worked exceptionally well on its debut flight earlier this month, enabling a longer flight than when STS-120 was planned to fly on Atlantis earlier this year (before the schedule-busting hail storm.) STS-120 will also carry astronaut Dan Tani to the Station for ISS Expedition 16, replacing Clay Anderson of ISS Expedition 15. The other two EXP-16 crew, Peggy Whitson and Yuri Malenchenko are scheduled to launch on Soyuz TMA-11 on October 10, along with scientist Sheikh Shukor of Malaysia, who will return on Soyuz TMA-10 with the rest of the Expedition 15 crew.

[Edited 2007-08-23 03:41:54]
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Thu Aug 23, 2007 6:07 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 2):

Once again a great and very informative information post. I'd add you on my RU list if you weren't there already... I hope we'll see this mission without any hurricane delay...
 
AM
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:41 am

Great to see Pam Melroy in her first STS mission as CDR.

By the way, I found this picture:

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/...e/sts-120/html/jsc2007e043538.html

Do CDRs and PLTs receive DC-9 type rating during mission training? Are they fully qualified to operate this airplane during all stages of flight? If the answer is yes, it just amazes me how many different types of aircraft and spacecraft these admirable people are simultaneously qualified to fly. The T-38 and Gulfstream STA are two of them...

Looking forward to STS-120!

AM

[Edited 2007-08-24 04:43:08]
"... for there you have been and there you will long to return."
 
JetBlueGuy2006
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Sat Aug 25, 2007 3:54 am

Quoting AM (Reply 4):
Do CDRs and PLTs receive DC-9 type rating during mission training? Are they fully qualified to operate this airplane during all stages of flight? If the answer is yes, it just amazes me how many different types of aircraft and spacecraft these admirable people are simultaneously qualified to fly. The T-38 and Gulfstream STA are two of them...

I think that part of it is that the DC-9 they are sitting in might be specially modified to mimick the shuttle so that they can practice landing. The first time the CMDR can land the space shuttle is when they are 1 minute from touchdown on the runway at the end of the mission. Personally, I would flip out is if the first time I got to land something for real, was the only time. And add on to that, it is a multi-billion spacecraft and 5-6 other lives in my hand.

Go STS-120
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Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Sat Aug 25, 2007 5:36 am

Quoting JetBlueGuy2006 (Reply 5):
I think that part of it is that the DC-9 they are sitting in might be specially modified to mimick the shuttle so that they can practice landing.

No, that's done in the Shuttle Training Aircraft... a modified Grumman Gulfstream II. I don't know what the purpose of the DC-9 is, except that the aircraft is also used for "parabola" (brief microgravity) research so perhaps it is for both heavy aircraft time and for practice handling an aircraft in micro-g.

In the meantime, X-ray inspections have revealed cracks in the insulation on the External Tank LOX feedlline support brackets for both STS-120 and STS-122. This is where the debris which damaged Endeavour originated.

Engineers are already removing foam in those areas. ET/SRB mating will be delayed during the repair and rollout to Pad 39A will be delayed about 10 days, but still no impact on the October 23 launch date.

NASA is trying to find a workaround to keep STS-122 on schedule for December 6, possibly moving the STS-120 stack (only SRBs) around to the Safe Haven High Bay 2 and start stacking the STS-122 SRBs in High Bay 3 until STS-120's Tank is ready and the two stacks switch places. (High Bay 1 is still out of service for door repairs.)
 
Mir
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Sun Aug 26, 2007 2:10 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 6):
No, that's done in the Shuttle Training Aircraft... a modified Grumman Gulfstream II.

A.net has a cockpit shot of the old-style STA:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andy Martin - AirTeamImages



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connies4ever
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:49 am

Interesting to note that Dave Williams on the recent Endeavour mission is currently the last Canadian scheduled to fly. I have read that CSA (Canadian Space Agency) is negotiating with NASA to get another Canuck up before the shuttle era ends in 2010.

Julie Payette to me seems the logical choice: trained as an MS, has flight experience. Chris Hadfield would be the next choice, but already has done two missions.

Is it just me or is the 2010 shutdown date for the shuttle program arbitrary ? The whole Constellation program seems to be moving very slowly and it's not like they're actually inventing something new, it's kind of an Apollo on steroids. The J-2X is a new thing, however. If possible, why not stretch the shuttle program out another couple years to support ISS prior to the advent of Constellation/Orion ?
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:54 am

I'm surprised a Canadian isn't on STS-123, the flight launching Canada's next major contribution to ISS... the SPDM "Canada Hand" for the Station's robot arm, Canadarm II.

The 2010 deadline came from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, which recommended that NASA conduct a complete recertification of the Orbiter fleet if it plans to fly the Shuttle beyond 2010. Both NASA and the President accepted the CAIB's findings and recommendations. A complete recertification would be costly and time-consuming, so the President decided to end the Shuttle program in 2010 and move on to Constellation.

Constellation is moving very slowly because the $1 billion in extra NASA funding that the President promised when he inaugurated the program in 2004, has never materialized. This funding shortfall will not get better by extending the Shuttle program into 2011 or 2012. As long as Shuttle is flying, there is no serious funding available for development of Ares/Orion.
 
connies4ever
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:14 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 9):
The 2010 deadline came from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, which recommended that NASA conduct a complete recertification of the Orbiter fleet if it plans to fly the Shuttle beyond 2010. Both NASA and the President accepted the CAIB's findings and recommendations. A complete recertification would be costly and time-consuming, so the President decided to end the Shuttle program in 2010 and move on to Constellation.

Constellation is moving very slowly because the $1 billion in extra NASA funding that the President promised when he inaugurated the program in 2004, has never materialized. This funding shortfall will not get better by extending the Shuttle program into 2011 or 2012. As long as Shuttle is flying, there is no serious funding available for development of Ares/Orion.

Aware of the re-cert stipulation from the CAIB. I guess it would be robbing Peter to pay Paul to keep the shuttle program going. They have so much capability, though, even if they are fragile.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
JetBlueGuy2006
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:53 am

I am surprised Stephanie Wilson is assigned to this mission. She was on the shuttle like a year ago or so. I have never seen an astronaut in the recent shuttle mission history to be assigned to two missions so close together
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Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:25 pm

Quoting JetBlueGuy2006 (Reply 11):
I am surprised Stephanie Wilson is assigned to this mission. She was on the shuttle like a year ago or so

There was a crew shuffle for undisclosed reasons. Michael Foreman had been with STS-120 since the crew was assigned in mid-2006, but early this year he moved to STS-123 and Wilson replaced him on STS-120. Usually, that's because of a medical or other problem preventing an astronaut from staying with his/her original crew, and then NASA substitutes him with someone having recent experience, so that the replacement isn't too far behind on the training curve. Maybe Foreman had an appendectomy or something like that.

It happens from time to time. John Blaha stepped in to replace the late David Griggs on STS-33, eight months after Blaha flew STS-29 in 1989. I think it happened again in the 90s, but I don't remember when.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:16 pm

There seems to be a problem with the landing gear. Also, they plan another spacewalk to practice repairs...

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:33 am

The problem with the right-hand main landing gear has been resolved. Discovery is now scheduled to roll to the Vehicle Assembly Building on Sunday and rollout to Launch Pad 39A on September 30. Launch remains scheduled for October 23.

There was a lot of padding in the schedule for STS-120 (because the launch date is driven by Space Station and Soyuz scheduling), and it has certainly come in handy. There is still one day of padding left in the schedule.

Launch of STS-122 remains scheduled for December 6.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts120/070920repairs/
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:58 am

Discovery rolled to the Vehicle Assembly Building at midday Sunday.

Liftoff of STS-120 remains on schedule for 11:38am, Tuesday, October 23. One month from today.

Elsewhere, NASA has now officially cancelled the retirement of Shuttle Atlantis and added the final two Shuttle missions (STS-131 and STS-133, previously unfunded) to its manifest. Atlantis had been slated for retirement after next summer's STS-125, due to the expense and time of completing another Orbiter Major Modification period (normally after every seven flights.) Boeing and NASA engineers have decided than an entire OMM (formerly Orbiter Maintenance Down Period) won't be necessary, and that the parts of an OMM that are necessary can be accomplished as part of Atlantis's normal turnaround between flights. Discovery will also run past the normal 7 flights before the end of the Shuttle program in 2010 and will also get some of this mini-OMM treatment.

Atlantis will now fly two more missions after STS-125. Having Atlantis in the rotation will ease launch scheduling problems, particularly the launch-on-need rescue requirement, which would have been difficult with only two flying Shuttles. Atlantis' participation in the 2009-2010 rotation should allow NASA to end the Shuttle program in March 2010 instead of July 2010, but more likely it will improve NASA's chances of ending the program before October 1, 2010 as planned.

Atlantis will likely also be outfitted with the Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System, enabling longer stays at the Space Station.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:49 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 15):

Very interesting... Is the 2010 date absolutely strict, or will they re-think that schedule, if the following missions continue to be as succesful as they have been? Budget wouldn´t allow further missions, right?
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:15 am

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 16):
Very interesting... Is the 2010 date absolutely strict, or will they re-think that schedule, if the following missions continue to be as succesful as they have been? Budget wouldn´t allow further missions, right?

I suspect they'd get permission from the White House and Congress to fly out the remaining flights if something happens that they can't meet the Sep 30, 2010 deadline. But NASA very much wants to avoid that, because the budget is a zero-sum game. If they have to use Fiscal Year 2011 funds to fly out a Shuttle mission or two, that funding will come from Constellation, which in turn will be delayed. And it has already been massively delayed.

NASA now hopes to fly the last Shuttle mission in March 2010, six months before the deadline, and use the remaining FY10 funding to begin shutting down the Shuttle program, freeing up some FY11 funds to help Constellation stay on schedule for first flight in October 2014 (and early 2015 is already much more likely.)

The window to add more Shuttle flights beyond STS-133 is rapidly closing because of the long lead-times needed for some hardware, including the ET/Orbiter fittings. They could probably squeeze in an extra flight or two, as there are two External Tanks that are not now scheduled to fly (one Lightweight Tank from the pre-Station era, one Super Lightweight Tank damaged by Hurricane Katrina but possibly repairable.) After that, they'd have to wait for subcontractors to put parts back in production. The next President could order it, but by then we probably wouldn't get new Shuttle flights much sooner than we'd get Orion flights, so I think this unlikely.
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:40 am

Update...

Discovery arrived at Launch Pad 39A at midday Sunday.
 
Slcpilot
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:10 am

Can the ISS be thought of as a two dimensional structure in terms of layout? And is there a graphic available to make sense of Thorny's description?

Also, is the ISS certified for a certain number of years, after which components (or the whole thing) will no longer be man-rated?

Thanks in advance,

SLCPilot
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KDTWflyer
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:26 am

I wish I could get launch tickets to see this launch at the causeway. Pilot George Zamka attended the same high school as I.
NW B744 B742 B753 B752 A333 A332 A320 A319 DC10 DC9 ARJ CRJ S340
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:55 am

Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 19):
Can the ISS be thought of as a two dimensional structure in terms of layout? And is there a graphic available to make sense of Thorny's description?

No. There are modules attached on all three axes.

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/143942main_ISS_config.jpg

When you see a photograph or illustration of the International Space Station, the end to which the Space Shuttle docks is the forward end. That's the direction the Station is travelling in orbit.

At the rear is Russia's Zvezda module. This is a control and propulsion module. At its aft end are two rocket engines and a docking port for visiting Soyuz or Progress spacecraft. The engines have a finite lifetime, so Russia generally uses them sparingly, preferring to use the engines of the attached Progress to raise the Station's orbit from time to time. The Zvezda engines can't be fired while a Progress or Soyuz is docked there. At the other end of Zvezda is a "node" with three docking ports, one facing forward, one facing upward and one downward.

The upward port on Zvezda is unoccupied. It was to support the Russia Power Platform, a set of solar arrays on a mast standing upward. Those arrays were cancelled after the Columbia accident.

The downward port on Zvezda is occupied by Pirs, Russia's small airlock module. Pirs has a hatch for spacewalking cosmonauts on one side. The lower end of Pirs is a docking port for visiting Soyuz spacecraft. Russia plans to attach a large laboratory module here in 2009. This module will also have a Soyuz/Progress docking port. Pirs may be relocated to the upward port on Zvezda at that time.

Attached to the forward port of Zvezda is Zarya, the Functional Cargo Block (FGB in Russian) which contains crew living quarters, storage areas, and propellant tanks. Zarya was paid for by NASA (through Boeing) but built by Russia. Zarya was the first element of the Space Station launched into orbit, in November 1998.

The forward end of Zarya also has a node with three docking ports, one forward, one up and one down.

The upward port is unoccupied.

The downward port is a docking port for Soyuz spacecraft, since during crew rotations two Soyuz must be docked at the same time. The Space Shuttle will attach a Russian docking module, somewhat like Pirs, here in 2009 or 2010.

The forward port of Zarya is attached to the U.S. Node 1 "Unity" module, by way of a tunnel called a Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA-2 in this case) which bridges between the large, square hatches on the U.S. side of the Space Station and the smaller, circular hatches of the Russian elements.

Unity has six ports: one upward, one downward, one portside, one starboard, one forward and one aft.

The aft port is occupied by PMA-2 and attached to Zarya.

The upward port on Unity is occupied by the Z1 module, a mostly unpressurized unit which houses the Station's four giant Control Moment Gyroscopes (for attitude control) as well as its High Gain Antenna.

The downward port is vacant. This is where the large Multipurpose Logistics Modules are docked after carried to the Space Station by visiting Shuttles.

The portside (left-facing) port was occupied by PMA-3, a third, spare docking tunnel for visiting Shuttles until a few weeks ago, when it was moved to a temporary berth on Z1, clearing that port to be a temporary berth for the upcoming Node 2.

The starboard port is occupied by Quest, the U.S. airlock module from which astronauts take spacewalks.

The forward port on Unity is occupied by the U.S. Laboratory Module "Destiny", the primary U.S. laboratory and control center.

The forward end of Destiny has another hatch, to which is attached PMA-1, the docking tunnel used by visiting Space Shuttles (which use Russian-built hardware, hence the needed for the hatch-diameter-changing PMA.)

Mounted on struts atop Destiny is the U.S. Integrated Truss Structure, centered on Destiny and utlimately to span 310 feet, running to port and starboard. The Truss contains batteries, solar panels and heat radiators, as well as various support hardware.

STS-120 Discovery will deliver Node 2 "Harmony", a slightly longer sister of Node 1 "Unity". It too has six docking ports... up, down, port, starboard, forward and aft. Node 2 will eventually by attached to the forward end of the Destiny U.S. Lab module, where PMA-1 is now. Because the Space Shuttle Discovery will be docked to PMA-1, the crew cannot immediately attach Node 2 in its final position. Node 2 will temporarily be berthed to the portside docking port of Node 1 (where it can receive keep-alive power) until Discovery departs. Then the Space Station crew will disconnect PMA-1 from Destiny and install it to the forward end of Node 2. Then Node 2, with PMA-1 attached, will be installed on the forward end of Destiny. (This will all take place in the month between Discovery's STS-120 and Atlantis's STS-122.)

Europe's laboratory module "Columbus" will be attached to Node 2's starboard docking port on STS-122.

Japan's "Kibo" laboratory complex (it has three distinct elements) will be berthed to Node 2's portside docking port in 2008.

Node 2's upward port was to be occupied by the Centrifuge Accomodation Module, which was unfotunately cancelled after the Columbia accident.

The Shuttle's Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM) will be attached to the downward-facing port of Node 2 while Shuttles are present. It is likely one MPLM will be modified with improved micrometeoroid shielding and will be permanently berthed here to serve as a storage facility after the Shuttle's retirement in 2010.

PMA-3 will be berthed to the downward port on Node 1 "Unity" after Node 2 is installed, since that port will no longer be used by Shuttle-borne MPLMs.

A third Node is due for launch in 2010. It will be berthed to the downward facing port on Node 1. PMA-3 will be relocated to its forward end, where it may someday be used by visiting Orion or commercial spacecraft. Node 3 will contain life support hardware and sleeping berths, as well as a large, multi-windowed observation deck called the Cupola.
 
BEG2IAH
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:38 am

The seven STS-120 astronauts arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday evening in their T-38 training jets, in advance of next week's launch dress rehearsal activities. During the week, the astronauts and ground crews are scheduled to participate in various simulated countdown activities and training exercises.

Source: NASA

BEG2IAH
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:45 pm

Potential major delay looming...

Looks like three of Discovery's wing leading edge RCC panels are suspect. Replacing them requires rollback to the VAB and demating. If replacement is ordered, STS-120 will slip to the launch window that opens on December 6. NASA is still reviewing the situation and might fly "as is", but it doesn't look good.

In the meantime, Soyuz TMA-11 launched at 1:22pm GMT Wednesday with the ISS Expedition 16 crew.
 
BEG2IAH
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:24 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 23):
Potential major delay looming...

This is the last info from NASA.gov (excerpt):

While the astronauts practiced for launch, shuttle program managers started two days of meetings Tuesday in preparation for next week's Flight Readiness Review, which is scheduled for Oct. 16.

One of the topics discussed before the conclusion of the program review Wednesday involved the reinforced carbon carbon, or RCC, on Discovery’s wing leading edge panels. In the past, there have been post-flight indications that the edges of a couple of panels have lost small amounts of their upper-level coating. Thermography, or thermal imagery, has been used to inspect the panels in order to identify any internal defects that could lead to coating loss.

The NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) has been working with shuttle engineers to better understand the potential causes of coating loss. At Wednesday's meeting, NESC recommended replacing three of Discovery's 44 panels.

Discovery has flown at least twice with these panels in the current condition, and with no indications of degradation based on thermography. At this point, the Space Shuttle Program has determined that Discovery's astronauts can safely carry out their mission without having to replace the panels.

BEG2IAH
 
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eksath
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Sun Oct 14, 2007 3:11 pm

Picture from Rollout


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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu

World Wide Aerospace Photography
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:03 am

It seems the shuttle is go for launch for october 23rd, 2007... Lets see if they manage to launch in time...
 
NYC777
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:40 pm

You guys should check out the followign site:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/

There insider info in ther ethat you won't find on other sites. They brokethe RCC panel issue last week before anyone else had picked it up. There's a whole host of information on their L2 service but that is for paid access. Also the STS-120 press kit is up:

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/192725main_STS-120_Shuttle_Press_Kit.pdf

[Edited 2007-10-17 06:43:46]
That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:11 pm

Launch of Discovery remains on schedule for 11:38 am Eastern Time on Tuesday. Launch weather forecast is 40% probability of acceptable weather. The forecast improves to 60% on Wednesday at the Cape, but worsens at overseas Trans-Atlantic Abort landing sites. So we might be waiting until late this week before STS-120 finally launches.

Notes:
This will be the first time that a female Shuttle commander (Pamela Melroy) is greeted by a female Space Station commander (Peggy Whitson).

Soyuz TMA-10 landed safely in Kazakhstan on Sunday after its guidance system malfunctioned and defaulted to a "ballistic" entry which exposed the crew (Yurchikhin, Kotov, and Shukor) briefly to 8 g's on re-entry instead of the normal 3 g's. Consequently, Soyuz TMA-10 landed about 200 miles short of the intended recovery area. The crew was not injured. This is the second TMA-series Soyuz to suffer a guidance malfunction and ballistic (rather than controlled, lifting) descent, following TMA-1 in 2003. After the TMA-1 incident, Soyuz crews were equipped with satellite telephones to contact rescue forces in the event of an off-course landing.

Proving that the flight of former Teacher-in-Space backup, now Astronaut-Educator Barbara Morgan on STS-118 in August was not just a publicity stunt, NASA has added two more Astronaut-Educators to an upcoming Shuttle mission. Joseph Acaba and Richard Arnold are among the crew of STS-119, due for launch in about a year.
 
NYC777
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:48 pm

Ice formation on the LH2 line and could be a harzard at launch. This may scrub the launch is the ice doesn't melt.
That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
 
chksix
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:43 pm

GO now since the ice is melting.
The conveyor belt plane will fly
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:45 pm

It's now a race against approaching bad weather.
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:25 pm

Ice problem has been cleared. Weather is go.
 
Slcpilot
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:27 pm

Strange dream about three nights ago.....

It involved watching this launch, and a hydrogen leak during the ascent, somewhere between the orbiter and the external tank. The RTLS was not realistic in that the orbiter left the stack while the SRB's were still burning, but it was a clean separation. The orbiter landed in shallow water with the tiles being ripped off the bottom and the leading edges destroyed, not very realistic, but spooky never the less. The crew was OK! (and strangely didn't leave the orbiter during the glide).

At any rate......Go Discovery !

Cheers!

SLCPilot

PS> Thanks to all here who help provide additional insight into our space program (a much better value than some of our other current endevours in the world, but that's another subject)
I don't like to be fueled by anger, I don't like to be fooled by lust...
 
AGC525
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:36 pm

T - 3:00!

Good Luck STS-120!!!!
American Aviation: From Kitty Hawk to the Moon in 66 years!
 
TheSonntag
Topic Author
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:50 pm

The external tank has been separated. Good luck for the rest of the mission...
 
Yellowstone
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:52 pm

Beautiful launch. Good luck to the crew of STS-120.
Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:55 pm

Nice liftoff.

Before the separation of the external tank, one could see some kind of condensation clouds, and I always thought air would be too thin or even non.existent to allow condensation clouds forming.
I support the right to arm bears
 
NYC777
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:58 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 37):
Before the separation of the external tank, one could see some kind of condensation clouds, and I always thought air would be too thin or even non.existent to allow condensation clouds forming.

Yeah that's the SSMEs shutting down.
That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:03 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 37):

Before the separation of the external tank, one could see some kind of condensation clouds, and I always thought air would be too thin or even non.existent to allow condensation clouds forming.

The plume from the Main Engines gets wider and wider as air pressure drops off with altitude and starts to become visible (in daytime) when the Shuttle gets to orbital altitude and the sky darkens. The "condensation cloud" (an orange ring) was the plume from the engines. Like looking at a soap bubble... all you can see are the edges.

Its really bright and visible on Delta II launches.
 
AGM100
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:12 pm

Congratulations to all the folks from all the countries involved , what a beautiful scene ! Never gets old to me !
You dig the hole .. I fill the hole . 100% employment !
 
NoUFO
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:15 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 39):
The "condensation cloud" (an orange ring) was the plume from the engines. Like looking at a soap bubble... all you can see are the edges.

That explains it. Thanks folks.
I support the right to arm bears
 
MadameConcorde
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:31 pm

I watched the take-off live and subsequent replays on NASA TV. I am always amazed!

I have a question. What happens to the external tanks after they separate from the shuttle?

Does NASA recoop them for further use? How do they know where they land? Is there a GPS or such similar system for indications of the landing site?

As another poster said, it is nice to see a woman Shuttle flight commander at the same time as a woman ISS flight commander. This is rather unusual, I am not sure it happened before. This will be a woman's libbies's Space meet!  Big grin

I hope team STS 120 will have a safe flight and a safe return back to earth.  airplane 
Good luck to neighbor coutnryman Paolo Nespoli. I hope he will enjoy his ride in Space.  Smile
There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:16 pm

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 42):
I have a question. What happens to the external tanks after they separate from the shuttle?

They burn up over the South Pacific Ocean.
 
GDB
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:44 pm

Another one away, good luck for the rest of the mission.
 
redflyer
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:08 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 43):
They burn up over the South Pacific Ocean.

I always thought it was the Indian Ocean? Or does it vary based on each missions trajectory?
My other home is in the sky inside my Piper Cherokee 180.
 
Yellowstone
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:30 pm

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 45):
I always thought it was the Indian Ocean? Or does it vary based on each missions trajectory?

I was also under the impression that they burned up over the Indian Ocean.
Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.
 
Thorny
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:49 pm

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 45):

I always thought it was the Indian Ocean? Or does it vary based on each missions trajectory?



Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 46):
I was also under the impression that they burned up over the Indian Ocean.

It originally was. That was called the "Standard Insertion" launch. The last Standard Insertion was STS-30 in 1989. On those launches, the Shuttle flew a shallower trajectory and completed the launch by firing its Orbital Maneuvering System engines shortly after Main Engine Cutoff and External Tank Seperation. This was called the OMS-1 firing. The External Tank fell into the Indian Ocean.

Now the Shuttle flies a "Direct Insertion" profile, a steeper trajectory that doesn't require OMS-1. Consequently, the Tank is moving higher/faster at Main Engine Cutoff and coasts all the way around to the Pacific Ocean southwest of Hawaii.

If there is an underperformance of the Main Engines, the Shuttle can still peform the OMS-1 firing to attain orbit. You may have heard during today's launch, right after MECO and ET Sep, Mission Contol called up the crew and said "Nominal MECO, OMS-1 not required."

The OMS-2 burn is still necessary, about 45 minutes after launch (halfway around the world) in order to raise the orbit's perigee (low point) out of Earth's atmosphere.
 
BEG2IAH
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:12 am

Great launch! Godspeed, Discovery!

BEG2IAH
 
redflyer
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RE: Official STS-120 Thread

Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:18 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 47):

Thanks for the explanation, Thorny. I had no idea it's been that long since the last tank was dropped in the Indian Ocean. What was the motivating factor back in '89 for changing to a direct insertion profile? (My first guess is it was program improvements as a result of Challenger, but that was four missions prior.) It does make sense considering it would preserve the integrity of the launch in the event of issues with the main engines, but you would think that option was always available since the beginning of the program.

[Edited 2007-10-23 20:19:48]
My other home is in the sky inside my Piper Cherokee 180.

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