Saturday, August 08, 2009

Successful Countdown Practice Highlights Week

he astronauts of space shuttle Discovery, along with the launch and mission control teams in Florida and Houston, recorded a successful countdown dress rehearsal as preparations move ahead for the STS-128 mission. The practice capped a busy week at Kennedy and came just seven days after space shuttle Endeavour landed to end STS-127. Discovery rolled to the launch pad Tuesday and its crew flew in Wednesday for the intense launch training. The crew of seven astronauts will come back to Kennedy in the days prior to Discovery’s launch on a mission to outfit the International Space Station with essential equipment and racks for science experiments.

Shuttle management is evaluating options and analyzing data related to the foam insulation on the ice frost ramp area on Discovery’s external fuel tank. The ice frost ramps being evaluated are brackets on the outside of the upper part of the external tank. The topic will be thoroughly considered at the shuttle program’s flight readiness review meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. In the meantime, managers are telling teams to continuing working toward Discovery’s targeted Aug. 25 launch.