Posts Tagged ‘Tranquility’

ISS Latest

February 13, 2010
International Space Station.  Source:  NASA

International Space Station. Source: NASA

The Space Station was a busy place this week – as Endevaour pulled into the driveway for a visit. There are a dozen spacefarers up there in all wokring on getting Tranquility bolted in and on line. And speaking of online –  now that the station is connected to the interweb – you can log on and peek over their shoulder up there – the new station webcam can be found here.  Matter of fact – let’s see what is going on up there now…

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Countdown to the Countdown

January 30, 2010
Source:  NASA

Source: NASA

The space shuttle Endeavour is still on track for a wee hours launch on February 7th. NASA held its flight readiness review – and cleared the orbiter for flight on Wednesday.

The leaky ammonia lines on the Tranquility node sitting in the cargo bay have been swapped out – replaced by several smaller hoses joined together. Frankenhose it is called. The six member crew of Endeavour is slated to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center on Superbowl Sunday at 4:39am Eastern ( 0939 GMT). Think of it as a pre-pre-pre-game show…which of course we hope you will watch on Spaceflight Now.   I will be joined by David Waters and astronaut Leroy Chiao – and in honor of the super bowl we will have plenty of chips dip and beer on hand. You should too.
By the way – the coin that will be tossed before the big game – comes from NASA – it flew on the Atlantis mission in November. Our coverage – of the launch – not the colts and the saints – begins at Midnight Eastern (0500 GMT) – see ya then.

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Endeavour Prepares for Launch

January 24, 2010

Source:  NASA

Source: NASA

It was Launch Day – without the fire and rumble – this week at the Kennedy Space Center.

The crew of STS-130 streaked in from Houston on their supersonic T-38’s – donned  their Launch and re-entry – or pumpkin suits – and then when through the motions of launch day. The dress rehearsal is called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT.  The exercise ends with a simulated launch pad abort – and later a spin in an armored personnel carrier.

As for the vehicle that will take them to space – Endeavour is doing fine – although the piece of the space station that sits in her trunk – the Tranquility node – is still giving the shuttle team a mental workout. Cooling lines that carry ammonia failed a leak test a few weeks ago. The team is working to improve the hose design – while also beefing up and piecing together some smaller sections. They are calling the result “Frankenhose.”  The shuttlers are still hoping for a February 7th launch.

Decisions, decisions

January 6, 2010

twis300The 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.”