Launch on Target, Fueling Complete, OMS Issue Resolved

STS134-153212main pad-banner-m

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 08:30:02 -0500

The Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) crossfeed valve procedure worked to alleviate the right OMS pressure issue. Both left and right tanks are balanced and are below pressure limits and there are no technical concerns for today’s launch.

Space shuttle Endeavour’s external tank is fully loaded with more than 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in preparation for today’s 3:47 p.m. EDT launch. Tanking operations began at 6:22 a.m. and concluded at 9:24 a.m. The countdown has entered a planned 2.5-hour hold at T-3 hours, during which the tank will remain in “stable replenish” mode, the Close Out Crew will prepare the White Room for astronaut arrival, and the Final Inspection Team will conduct its inspections.

At 10 a.m. NASA Television (www.nasa.gov/ntv) will provide coverage of 42 Progress docking to the International Space Station. STS-134 launch commentary will start on NASA TV at 10:30 a.m.

A storm cell is rapidly moving through the Kennedy Space Center. Once it passes, forecasters continue to predict a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for today’s launch. The only concerns are low cloud ceilings and high crosswinds at the Shuttle Landing Facility.

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Techs Working OMS Pod Issue

shuttle cutaway 946-710

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 07:51:50 -0500

The shuttle launch team is evaluating an issue with the right Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) fuel tank pressure. It currently is at 290 pounds per square inch (psi) and the Launch Commit Criteria limit is 288. There also is a difference in pressure between the fuel and oxidizer tanks of 18 psi, and the limit is 15. The oxidizer pressure is 272. All the pressures are stable, and engineers believe the issue may have been caused by a regulator failure to lock up and a leaking helium isolation valve.

Launch controllers will open the crossfeed valve between the left and right OMS systems to help alleviate the pressure, which is expected to clear the issue.

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Endeavour at the Pad

STS134-EndeavourAtPad

The space shuttle Endeavour sat on Launch Pad 39A as a storm passed prior to the rollback of the Rotating Service Structure, Thursday, April 28, 2011, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Endeavour launches on the STS-134 mission on Friday, April 29 at 3:47 p.m. EDT. During the 14-day mission, Endeavour and the STS-134 crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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RSS Retraction Complete

STS134-153212main pad-banner-m

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 01:08:29 -0500

Teams at Launch Pad 39A began moving the rotating service structure (RSS) away from space shuttle Endeavour at 11:58 p.m., April 28 in preparation for today’s launch attempt. Completion of RSS retraction occurred at 12:32 a.m. this morning. The launch team is currently working no technical issues and there is a 70 percent chance of acceptable weather at launch time. Live commentary of the external tank fueling coverage will begin at 6:15 a.m. and continuous launch commentary will begin at 10:30 a.m. Endeavour is scheduled to launch at 3:47:55 p.m. EDT on its final mission.

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NASA’s Swift And Hubble Probe Asteroid Collision Debris

HST

Hubble Space Telescope

SwiftST

Swift Space Telescope

WASHINGTON — Late last year, astronomers noticed an asteroid named Scheila had unexpectedly brightened, and it was sporting short-lived plumes. Data from NASA’s Swift satellite and Hubble Space Telescope showed these changes likely occurred after Scheila was struck by a much smaller asteroid.

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RSS Retract Now Targeted for 11:45 p.m. EDT

sts134-missionpatch

Thu, 28 Apr 2011 21:17:12 -0500

Teams at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A now expect to begin moving the rotating service structure away from space shuttle Endeavour at 11:45 p.m. EDT, which still would support a launch attempt tomorrow at 3:47 p.m. EDT. Preparations to move the RSS will begin immediately following the end of the Phase II lightning warning, which is expect to be lifted at approximately 10:15 p.m.

Preliminary data indicates no lightning strikes within half a mile of the pad and no obvious damage to the pad or spacecraft.

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Storm Possiblity Delays RSS Retract

STS117landingsite

Thu, 28 Apr 2011 16:38:38 -0500

In anticipation of a storm that is predicted to pass over NASA Kennedy Space Center this evening, technicians at Launch Pad 39A will delay the opening of the rotating service structure (RSS) away from space shuttle Endeavour until approximately 8:30 p.m. EDT. Teams currently have begun support work that normally occurs following the RSS move, which allows the countdown to continue as planned to support Friday’s 3:47 p.m. launch.

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