Shuttle News: March 2009 Archives

Senate budget panel: Shuttle can fly another year

"A $2.5 billion spending provision that would allow NASA to fly the space shuttle well beyond its scheduled retirement next year cleared a major legislative hurdle today, according to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. The provision, requested by Nelson, was included in the broader five-year spending plan that passed the Senate Budget Committee. The shuttle is scheduled to be retired in the fall of next year, and President Barack Obama's recently submitted budget plan provides only enough money for nine flights by the end of 2010. But Nelson has argued there should be no hard-and-fast deadline for launching those flights or mothballing the shuttle; and, that finishing all the shuttle's work safely should come first."

NASA STS-119 Report #27 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday, March 28, 2009

"After boosting the International Space Station to full power, the seven member crew of Discovery returned to Earth today, threading the weather needle for a landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Mission managers waved off the first landing opportunity due to gusty winds and clouds at the Shuttle Landing Facility, but took advantage of improved conditions to land on the second opportunity at 2:14 p.m. CDT Saturday. Discovery's main landing gear touched down at 2:13:17 p.m., followed by the nose gear at 2:13:40 p.m. The shuttle's wheels stopped at 2:14:45 p.m., bringing the mission's elapsed time to 12 days, 19 hours, 29 minutes, 33 seconds. Discovery traveled 5,304,140 miles during its journey."

According to PAO "Mission Control has given space shuttle Discovery a "go" for the deorbit burn. The burn lasts three to four minutes, slowing Discovery enough to begin its descent. The deorbit burn will occur at 2:08 p.m. EDT, leading to a 3:14 p.m. landing at Kennedy Space Center, Fla."

US Senate budget panel tells Obama not to get too attached to 2010 shuttle retirement date, Orlando Sentinel

"... [A] fixed retirement date could create dangerous scheduling pressures," notes the Senate Budget committee resolution, which outlines Congress' spending priorities but has little effect on the actual spending, as congressional appropriations committees are responsible for doling out dollars. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, took credit for inserting the language as he sits on the budget committee and wants to limit the time between the space shuttle's retirement and the first launch of its replacement, now slated for 2015."

Remarks by The President With The Crew of the Space Shuttle and Space Station (Transcript) 24 March 2009

"THE PRESIDENT: Well, obviously we're really proud about the extraordinary work that our American astronauts are doing. You are representative of the dedication and sense of adventure and discovery that we're so proud of. But one of the things that's wonderful about this is that it is an international space station. And I know that we have our Japanese and Russian counterparts on board, as well. We'd love to say hello to them -- and hope that this is an example of the kind of spirit of cooperation that we can apply not just in space but here on the ground, as well."

Editor's note: President Obama called the shuttle and ISS crews this morning at 9:49 a.m. EDT. The President was joined by Acting NASA Administrator Scolese, members of Congress, and children from local schools.

Video (via Collectspace.com) Below

Editor's note: There is a link on the cover page of the STS-119 FD 08 Execute Package that says "NCAA Basketball Championship Brackets, Second Round (pdf - Electronic Only)" The FD09 Execute Package refers to "NCAA Basketball Championship Brackets, Weekend Wrap-up (pdf - Electronic Only)" - both links are inside the JSC firewall.

Hmmm ... why can't NASA publish this? Moreover, why are they NOT sending NASA Mission Madness brackets up to the crew? Inquiring minds want to know.

ISS Docking completed

Hatches Opened Between Space Station and Shuttle Discovery at 7:09 p.m. EDT

"At about 7:30 p.m., Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Astronaut Wakata will become a member of the station's Expedition 18 crew and Sandra Magnus will become a member of Discovery's crew. Magnus will have been a space station crew member for 121 days."

Editor's note: According to NASA PAO: "At 5:19:53: p.m. EDT, Space shuttle Discovery docked to the Pressurized Mating Adaptor on the front of the International Space Station's Harmony module. Docking occurred over Lake Wells, western Australia. Hatches between Discovery and the station will be opened at about 7 p.m., followed by the traditional welcoming ceremony."

STS-119 Update

NASA's Shuttle Discovery Launches to Fully Power Space Station

"Space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 7:43 p.m. EDT Sunday to deliver the final set of power-generating solar array wings and a new crew member to the International Space Station. Discovery's STS-119 flight is carrying the space station's fourth and final set of solar array wings, completing the station's truss, or backbone. The arrays will provide the electricity to fully power science experiments and support the station's expanded crew of six in May. The 13-day mission will feature three spacewalks to help install the S6 truss segment to the starboard, or right, side of the station and deploy its solar arrays. The flight also will replace a failed unit for a system that converts urine to potable water."

STS-119 Launch Update

NASA Sets Saturday Briefing for Discovery's STS-119 Mission

"NASA managers will hold a prelaunch news conference no earlier than 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, March 14, to discuss the status of space shuttle Discovery's mission to the International Space Station. The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency Web site. Launch is scheduled for 7:43 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday's news conference will follow the conclusion of a NASA mission management team meeting that starts at 1 p.m."

Space Shuttle Discovery Repair Work Proceeds - Weather Forecast is Good

"Repairs are under way on the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate (GUCP) interface, where gaseous hydrogen leaked during Wednesday's launch attempt."

STS-119 Update

NASA Shuttle Launch Targeted for No Earlier Than March 15

"Space shuttle Discovery's launch to the International Space Station now is targeted for no earlier than March 15. NASA managers postponed Wednesday's planned liftoff due to a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system outside the external fuel tank. The system is used to carry excess hydrogen safely away from the launch pad. Liftoff on March 15 would be at 7:43 p.m. EDT. The exact launch date is dependent on the work necessary to repair the problem. Managers will meet Thursday at 4 p.m. to further assess the troubleshooting plan. Discovery's STS-119 flight is delivering the space station's fourth and final set of solar array wings, completing the station's truss, or backbone."

Gas Leak Postpones Space Shuttle Launch, AP via NPR

"NASA has until Monday to send Discovery to the space station, otherwise the flight will have to be put off until April. That's because a Russian Soyuz rocket is slated to blast off in two weeks, on a higher priority mission, with a fresh space station crew. Discovery's liftoff originally was targeted for mid-February, but concern about the shuttle's three hydrogen gas valves resulted in four delays."

Spaceflight Now to host live launch broadcast

"Spaceflight Now is excited to be joining forces with veteran space broadcasters Miles O'Brien and David Waters to provide unrivaled video coverage of space shuttle Discovery's next mission, scheduled for launch on Wednesday, March 11."

Editor's note: Mission managers just gave a "go" to fuel space shuttle Discovery's external tank. Weather is 95 percent "go" for tonight's 9:20 EDT launch.

Editor's note: From @milesobrien: "We want to take your questions during our webcast starting @ 4:30pm. For Twitter, direct message @milesobrien". Keep an eye on this webcast and the Twittering. Miles O'Brien and I will soon be doing something very similar from Everest Base Camp.

Editor's note: Have a look at this Shutttle pad photo, by Bill Ingalls, NASA HQ. This photo is also featured on the White House website.

Editor's Update: The STS-119 launch was scrubbed at 2:37 p.m. due to a hydrogen leak in a Liquid Hydrogen vent line between the shuttle and the external tank. The launch team is currently beginning the process of draining the external fuel tank. Next launch attempt tomorrow at 8:54 p.m. EDT.

Retiring shuttle may doom 38,200 Space Coast jobs, Orlando Sentinel

"Shuttle Discovery is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center at about 9:20 tonight, leaving only eight more scheduled missions before NASA retires the fleet in 2010 -- and devastates the Space Coast economy. Figures released by NASA this week predict the retirement of the shuttle will result in the loss of at least 3,500 jobs at KSC. Some industry officials say the number could be as high as 10,000. The best-case scenario would result in the loss of about 9,870 other jobs in the surrounding community; the worst-case number is 28,200. But the one Floridian in Washington who has the most stature and clout to fight to keep that from happening -- U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat who once flew aboard the shuttle -- has been able to do little to prevent the looming economic disaster."

Photo: Waiting To Fly

Editor's note: Have a look at this Shutttle pad photo, by Bill Ingalls, NASA HQ.

STS-119 Update

Editor's note: There is a news conference targeted for 2:30 p.m. EST where NASA managers will announce space shuttle Discovery's offical launch date.

Editor's update: Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center March 11 @9:20 p.m.EDT. NASA managers set the official launch date today.

Green Light for STS-119

NASA agrees to Wednesday shuttle launch, Houston Chronicle

"NASA's shuttle managers decided Wednesday to launch the space shuttle Discovery next Wednesday for a two-week mission to the International Space Station. The decision to fly was reached after the managers spent most of the day studying engineering tests and computer simulations involving a critical fuel valve that cracked on a flight in November. Top space agency officials will meet Friday to review the decision."

NASA officially moves up Discovery's launch date, SpaceflightNow

"Shuttle managers met today to review tests and inspections of suspect hydrogen flow control valves and agreed enough progress had been made to justify another flight readiness review Friday and a March 11 target launch date for the shuttle Discovery's delayed space station assembly mission."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from March 2009.

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