Shuttle News: December 2006 Archives

Discovery Lands In Florida

NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 22 December 2006 - 5 p.m. CST

"The crew of Space Shuttle Discovery made it home in time for Christmas, gliding to a perfect landing as the sun set over NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Discovery touched down on Runway 15 of the Shuttle Landing Facility at 4:32 p.m. CST. The crew had spent 12 days, 20 hours and 44 minutes in flight. Discovery's nose gear touched down at 4:32 p.m. exactly, and the shuttle's wheels came to a stop 52 seconds later."

Shuttle Discovery may land at White Sands, Las Cruces Sun-News

"Chances of a Friday or Saturday shuttle landing at White Sands Space Harbor are greater than they have been since the shuttle landed at White Sands almost 25 years ago. Poor weather conditions at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and at Edwards Air Force Base in California, could force NASA officials to land Discovery in New Mexico. Personnel at White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo began preparations for a possible shuttle landing Friday afternoon."

STS-116 Leaves New Truss Segment, Crew Member With Station

"The STS-116 crew's stay at the International Space Station came to an end Tuesday when Space Shuttle Discovery undocked at 5:10 p.m. EST. During its eight-day visit, the STS-116 crew added a new truss segment to the station, delivered a new crew member and rewired the orbital outposts power system."

Earlier ISS and Shuttle news

NASA STS-116 FD-9 Execute Package

Reader note: Meanwhile the folks at Mission Control have engaged in a little Star Trek humor. Must be a slow news day

Scotty: I Need That CEV in 2010 Or We're All Going to Die!, earlier post

Reader note: "It's the first time I've ever looked at "execute packages", but I enjoyed their little bit of humor at the Pilot's expense. I hope he does too.

Starting with Flight Day 3, his name becomes ever more butchered. Look at the downloadable PDF for each of FD 3 through 9, page 5 or 6 (on the PDF) to see his name go from OEFELEIN, to Oafaline, to Ovaltine(TM), to Offal-lean, to Oxyclean(TM), Oh-Feline (Meow), to Billie Jean, Outhouse King."

STS-116 Execute Packages

Editor's note: I received an interesting response to my earlier posting "You Just Can't Trust Those Former Astronauts" from former astronaut Rick Searfoss:

Hi Keith. There's lots of stories of NASA Security SNAFUS that would be very amusing, if they weren't such a sad commentary on how clueless and worthless the bureaucratic side of the agency is. Here's one about current astronauts as "security risks."

More iPods In Space

iPod Sighting Aboard Space Shuttle Discovery

Editor's note: If you look at the left hand side of this image dated Monday, 11 December, you will see an iPod and a Belkin external battery pack velcroed to a panel next to the Discovery's toilet located in the Shuttle's middeck. The iPod is connected to a set of external speakers. But wait - there's another one up on the flight deck.

Editor's 14 Dec update: According to NASA PAO: Six iPods also went up on the shuttle for the Discovery astronauts. The plan is (apparently) for the devices to come back with Discovery.

Discovery Launched

Space Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off

"Space Shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven astronauts lifted off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B at 8:47 p.m. EST, kicking off the most complicated and challenging mission to the International Space Station to date. The warm glow of Discovery's solid rocket boosters and trio of main engines lit the night sky for miles throughout the Kennedy area, marking the first night launch of a space shuttle in four years."

Preparations Continue for STS-116 Launch

"Under a partly cloudy sky, Space Shuttle Discovery is ready for launch of mission STS-116 from Launch Pad 39B. The rotating service structure rolled back at approximately 9:30 a.m. this morning to enable launch. NASA officials have set the next launch attempt for tonight at 8:47 p.m. EST. Shuttle weather forecasters anticipate that a cold front will linger in the area this evening, limiting chances for liftoff to 30 percent."

Back to the Moon, Permanently, editorial, New York Times

"If this nation is to continue a human space flight program it makes sense to pick a more exciting destination than a space station circling endlessly in low Earth orbit. Our main concern is that the political proponents of the Moon-Mars adventure will not provide money commensurate with the task. NASAs crowning scientific achievements have come from its unmanned probes to distant worlds and its orbiting observatories. It would be a shame if an underfinanced program to return to the Moon on a permanent basis and then venture on to Mars forced reductions in research programs of higher scientific value."

Editor's note: It would be so much more efficient - for all involved - if the NY Times would simply come out against sending humans into space once and for all - and then reprint that editorial once a month.

Another Odd PAO Quote

Congress passes stopgap funds until February 15, Reuters

"With a space shuttle scheduled to lift off on Saturday, the House vote provided relief for NASA workers, some of whom could have faced immediate layoff. NASA spokesman Gray Hautaloma said a government shutdown would not have affected essential personnel who support the shuttle mission. "The poor astronauts are not going to be stranded in space," he said."

Editor's note: "The poor astronauts"?

NASA ARC Internal Memo: Spacehab Litigation Request

"NASA currently has litigation with Spacehab Inc. pending before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, arising from the loss of the Columbia as it returned from the STS-107 mission on February 1, 2003. Spacehab's Research Double Module (RDM) was aboard Columbia and was totally destroyed in the accident. This litigation is in the discovery phase and Spacehab has requested copies of certain documents (hard copy and electronic forms - including e-mail). NASA is legally obligated to identify and preserve all relevant material."

Weather Forces Launch Scrub

Uncooperative Weather Forces Launch Postponement to Saturday

"The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery was scrubbed Thursday after poor weather conditions spoiled the attempt at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Earlier in the day a cold front moved in over the spaceport, bringing clouds and winds into the area. The cloud ceiling proved to be too low for a safe launch, prompting NASA to postpone Discovery's flight. NASA officials have set the next launch attempt for 8:47 p.m. EST on Dec. 9."

Weather Forecast Takes Center Stage For STS-116 Launch

"Tomorrow we are expecting a frontal system to come into the area, and that is going to bring in a lot of cloud cover," Winters said. "We did increase our probability of weather prohibiting a [Kennedy] launch to 60 percent." The forecast indicates the possibility of isolated light rain and low clouds in the area at launch time. Weather is also a concern at a contingency landing site in Istres, France. Tail winds there may increase and pose an issue as well. In the case of a 24-hour delay, the forecast isn't much better: there's a chance the winds at the launch pad or Shuttle Landing Facility could exceed limits, bringing the chance of weather prohibiting launch to 70 percent."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from December 2006.

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