The shuttle Endeavour is “hard down at the pad,” as they say at NASA. Rollout commenced this morning at 4:13am EST and officially wrapped her trip at 10:37am EST. It was a chilly 6+ hours of work for the team at KSC, who are not used to the sub-freezing temperatures and wind chill that hit the Space Coast this morning. Now, work begins in earnest to prep the orbiter for launch on February 7 – Super Bowl Sunday, no less. This mission will arguably be one of the most interesting of those remaining on the manifest…the astronauts will deliver and install Node 3, called Tranquility, and an attached cupola to the International Space Station. After this mission, it all comes down to hauling some science instruments and a whole lot of spare parts up hill. The finish line for the ISS is in sight!
In the mean time, our “This Week In Space” team is hard at work, evaluating stories and deciding what to include in our next show. Right now, the plan includes a report on the hard work going on inside an old McDonalds at NASA Ames to reprocess lunar images that predate Apollo, an interview with Hubble spacewalker John Grunsfeld – who has just departed the astronaut corps and signed on as a bigwig at the Space Telescope Science Inst. (a/k/a Hubble Headquarters), and possibly a story on moonwalker and artist Alan Bean, who is just wrapping up an exhibition of his paintings at the Smithsonian.
And that’s just for starters. On the space beat, the fun never stops! Watch this space for more on “This Week In Space.”