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  Mission Updates :: February Week 4

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Read how the mission unfolds week by week, day by day,
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Kennedy Space Center
Vehicle: Columbia/OV-102
Shuttle & Payload Processing Status Report


Thursday | Feb. 28, 2002

Following yesterday's postponement, the countdown for the launch of Columbia on the STS-109 mission was recycled to the T-11 mark and holding.

The countdown will resume at 2:32 p.m. today aiming for a planned liftoff of 6:22 a.m. Friday, March 1. The Rotating Service Structure move to the parked position was completed at 11:30 a.m.

The start of External Tank propellant loading is scheduled for 9:32 p.m. Final mission status will be evaluated by the Shuttle Management Team at tonight's 8:30 p.m. tanking meeting.

A Shuttle engineering team has completed an extensive evaluation of the landing gear bearing issue and has determined there are no technical constraints that will impact the STS-109 landing. Their report will be presented to the Mission Management Team tonight for final disposition. CLICK HERE FOR MORE IMAGES...

The Mission Management Team will conduct a pre-tanking meeting to assess final status at 9 p.m., placing special emphasis on the latest weather forecast and a report on the flight readiness of the landing gear bearings.

The STS-109 astronauts' circadian work schedule has been adjusted to meet the new launch time. They were awakened last night at about 8:30 p.m. and spent the day visiting with families, reviewing flight plans and receiving updates on the weather forecast and countdown progress. They will be awakened about 8:30 p.m. tonight and will depart their crew quarters for the launch pad at 2:38 a.m. tomorrow.

A more optimistic weather forecast was issued for launch time with a temperature at 55 degrees F, winds from the northeast at 14 to 20 knots and a relative humidity of 86 percent. Probability of conditions prohibiting launch is 30 percent because of the possibility of low cloud ceilings. Winds at the shuttle Landing Facility will be from the northeast at eight to 13 knots.

The weather at sea also has improved with a prediction of a sea state of three to four feet, east-northeast winds 15 to 18 knots and a water temperature of 72 degrees F in the Solid Rocket Booster recovery area.


Final countdown milestones include:

Launch Day (Friday, Mar. 1)
   Astronauts depart crew quarters (3:04 a.m.)
   Crew ingress (about 3:34 a.m.)
   Hatch closure (about 4:48 a.m.)
   Liftoff (6:48 a.m.)

NASA News
Kennedy Space Center
KSC Release No: 15-02


Wednesday | Feb. 27, 2002 - 4 pm EST

LAUNCH OF SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA POSTPONED 24 HOURS DUE TO LOW TEMPERATURE FORECAST

The launch of Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-109 has been postponed 24 hours to Friday, March 1. NASA managers decided after reviewing the launch weather forecast that the projected temperature at the launch pad of 38 degrees was at the margin of the acceptable limit in combination with the predicted wind speed and relative humidity.

The forecast for a launch attempt on Friday calls for a temperature approximately 10 degrees warmer. Waiting an additional 24 hours protects the option for two possible back-to-back launch opportunities for the launch team.

The launch window on Friday is 6:22 - 7:24 a.m. EST.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE NEWS DETAILS...

Kennedy Space Center
Vehicle: Columbia/OV-102
Shuttle & Payload Processing Status Report


Close-up of ColumbiaWednesday | Feb. 27, 2002 - 1 pm EST

The countdown for Shuttle Columbia is on schedule today preparing for the liftoff of the STS-109 Hubble servicing mission at 6:48 a.m. Thursday.

Fuel cell servicing and main engine performance checks are complete, and the Rotating Service Structure was moved to the parked position at 1:00 p.m. The astronaut support team will enter the crew compartment at 2 p.m. to verify onboard switch settings. The fuel cells will be activated at 4 p.m. and cryogenic loading of the External Tank is scheduled to start at 9:58 p.m. CLICK HERE FOR MORE IMAGES...

The Mission Management Team will conduct a pre-tanking meeting to assess final status at 9 p.m., placing special emphasis on the latest weather forecast and a report on the flight readiness of the landing gear bearings.

The seven-member STS-109 astronaut crew was awakened at 9 p.m. last night and spent their L-1 day reviewing flight plans and attending briefings on the latest status of weather conditions and orbiter payload systems.

Commander Scott Altman and Pilot Duane Carey went to the Shuttle Landing Facility at 5:30 a.m. and were airborne for two hours perfecting Shuttle landing techniques aboard two T-38s.

The crew is scheduled to start their sleep period at 1 p.m. with a wakeup call at 9 p.m. tonight. They will depart the crew quarters for the launch pad at 3:04 a.m. Thursday at the T-2 hour 55-minute mark in the countdown.

Close-up of ColumbiaTuesday | Feb. 26, 2002
The Shuttle Columbia countdown ran a few hours late this morning due to requirements to perform additional inspections before closing the payload bay doors and changing out a faulty ground support equipment regulator before initiating fuel cell propellant load. CLICK HERE FOR MORE IMAGES...

Fuel cell servicing is scheduled to begin at about noon and will continue as the countdown enters a four-hour built-in-hold at the T-27 hour mark at 2 p.m.

The Space Shuttle Mission Management Team meets at 2 p.m. to assess final status for the planned liftoff of STS-109 on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The seven STS-109 crewmembers, working their own circadian time cycle, were awakened at 9 p.m. Monday night and spent their "day" undergoing medical checks and performing final mission preparations.

Commander Scott Altman and Pilot Duane Carey made a 1- hour flight in the Shuttle Training Aircraft before returning to the crew quarters at 7 a.m. The crew had dinner at 9:45 a.m. and were scheduled to start their sleep period at 1 p.m.

The latest forecast for Thursday has a 40 percent probability of weather prohibiting launch, with scattered clouds at 3,000 feet, a temperature of 39 degrees F and surface winds from the northwest at 7 to 10 knots.

Final countdown milestones include:

Launch Day T-1 (Wednesday, Feb. 27)
   Move Rotating Service Structure (RSS) to park position.
   External Tank cryogenic propellant loading

Launch Day (Thursday, Feb. 28)
   Astronauts depart crew quarters (3:04 a.m.)
   Crew ingress (about 3:34 a.m.)
   Hatch closure (about 4:48 a.m.)
   Liftoff (6:48 a.m.)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT COUNTDOWN...

Close-up of ColumbiaMonday | Feb. 25, 2002
The final countdown for Shuttle Columbia on the STS-109 mission picked up on schedule at the T-43 hour mark at 10 a.m. this morning, aiming toward a planned liftoff at 6:48 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 28. CLICK HERE FOR MORE IMAGES...

Today's activities include final vehicle and facility closeouts, verifying backup flight systems for the onboard general- purpose computers and activating and testing the navigational systems. The seven STS-109 crewmembers arrived at KSC at 1 a.m. this morning and spent about two hours at the Pad A performing a final inspection of the Hubble payload they will deploy on orbit during five spacewalks.

The payload bay doors will be closed later tonight. Evaluation of the status of the Auxiliary Power Unit hydraulic pump bolts will be completed today and addressed at tomorrow's L-2 Mission Management Team meeting.

The forecast for Thursday predicts a 30 percent probability of weather prohibiting launch, with scattered clouds at 3,000 feet, a temperature of 40 degrees F and surface winds from the northwest at 5 to 10 knots.

The forecast for the Solid Rocket Booster recovery area calls for a sea state of eight to 10 feet, northwest winds 18-22 knots and an ocean temperature of 72 degrees F.


Final countdown milestones include:

Launch Day T-2 (Tuesday, Feb. 26)
   Load fuel cell cryogenic propellants

Launch Day T-1 (Wednesday, Feb. 27)
   Move Rotating Service Structure (RSS) to park position.
   External Tank cryogenic propellant loading

Launch Day (Thursday, Feb. 28)
   Astronauts depart crew quarters (3:04 a.m.)
   Crew ingress (about 3:34 a.m.)
   Hatch closure (about 4:48 a.m.)
   Liftoff (6:48 a.m.)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT COUNTDOWN...

 

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