STS-126 Shuttle Update
October 22, 2008 8:00 am
Space Shuttle Status Update: Endeavour Prepared for Launch Pad Swap, Atlantis Moves Back to the Barn
By Mark Kirkman
Orbiter: OV-105 (Endeavour)
STS-126 Mission Patch.  Courtesy: NASA
Mission: STS-126
Current Location: Launch Complex 39B
Target Launch Date: November 14 at ~ 7:55 pm Eastern
Launch Window: ~ 10 Minutes (Based on Rendezvous Requirements)
Crew: Commander Christopher J. “Fergie” Ferguson, Pilot Eric A. “Bim” Boe, and Mission Specialists Stephen G. Bowen, Robert S. “Shane” Kimbrough, Heidemarie M. Stephnyshyn-Piper, Donald R. Pettit, and Space Station Flight Engineer Sandra H. Magnus
Payload: ULF2 Payload Package (MPLM - Leonardo)
External Tank: ET-129
Booster Set: BI-136/RSRM-104
Launch Platform: MLP-3
Launch Pad: Pad 39A
Mission Duration: ~ 14 Days
Target Landing Date: November 29
 
 
Processing Summary:
 
Preparations are underway to move the Space Shuttle Endeavour from Launch Pad 39B to Launch Pad 39A. Originally targeted to occur on October 25, an effort is underway to accomplish the “Pad Swap” a couple of days earlier, on Thursday (October 23), ahead of adverse weather that is expected in the Central Florida area over the weekend. 
 
Earlier today (October 22) the Leonardo MPLM (multipurpose logistics module) was delivered to Pad 39A and will be installed into Endeavour’s payload bay following the Pad Swap operations.
 
Also on tap for tomorrow is a launch countdown simulation known as S0044 (pronounced “Sue 44”). S0044 is a rehearsal of normal and emergency procedures that the Launch Team at the Kennedy Space Center and the Ascent Flight Control Team in Houston would use in the final hours of a shuttle launch countdown.
 
In Houston Endeavour’s flight crew is busy completing the final weeks of their training template. Yesterday the crew conducted a practice run of EVA 3 in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab’s (NBL) 6.2 million gallon swimming pool located near the Johnson Space Center.  EVA 3 (extravehicular activity) is the 3rd of 4 spacewalks planned for the mission and will focus on maintenance of the Space Station’s Starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint. Other activities on this week’s training schedule include training flights in the Shuttle Training Aircraft for the Commander and Pilot, RMS (remote manipulator system or “robotic arm”) operations training in the Virtual Reality Lab, EVA 4 NBL run, and a simulation of Launch & Abort procedures in the Shuttle Mission Simulator.
 
Upcoming Milestones:
 
Disconnect Pad Interfaces and Prepare for Rollover (in work)
Roll to Pad 39A (~ October 23, under review)
Pad Validation Test (TBD)
Program Level Flight Readiness Review (in work)
Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (October 28 & 29)
Agency Level Flight Readiness Review (October 30)
Orbiter Aft Compartment Closeouts
EMU Stowage and Functional Checkout
Flight Crew Equipment Stowage
Ordnance Installation
Pre-Flight Pressurization of High Pressure Tanks
Agency Level Flight Readiness Review
Pre-Flight Briefing at JSC (November 3)
Pre-Count Setups
Launch on Need Countdown Call to Stations (November 11)
STS-126 Launch (November 14 ~ 7:55 PM Eastern)
 
 
Orbiter: OV-104 (Atlantis)
STS-125 Mission Patch.  Courtesy: NASA
Mission: STS-125; Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 4
Current Location: Vehicle Assembly Building, High Bay 3
Target Launch Date: February 17 (under review)
Launch Window: ~ 55 Minutes (Based on Rendezvous Requirements)
Crew: Commander Scott D. “Scooter” Altman, Pilot Gregory C. “Ray J” Johnson, Mission Specialists Michael T. “Bueno” Good, Megan McArthur, John Grunsfeld, Michael “Mass” Massimino, and Andrew “8 Ball” Feustel
Payload: HST SM04 Launch Package
External Tank: ET-127
Booster Set: BI-135/RSRM-103
Launch Platform: MLP-1 (last use by Shuttle Program; will be turned over to Constellation after STS-125 Launch)
Launch Pad: Pad 39A
Mission Duration: ~ 11 Days
Target Landing Date: TBD
 
 
Processing Summary:
 
Last Monday Atlantis was moved back to the Vehicle Assembly Building’s High Bay 3 clearing Pad 39A for the STS-126 mission of Endeavour. First motion occurred at 6:48 am EDT with the shuttle stack and mobile launch platform declared hard down on the VAB support pedestals at 1:42 pm EDT.
 
Plans currently call for flying the STS-125 Hubble Servicing mission in mid February; a final decision on the forward plan is not expected until around November 5. Another option on the table is to re-target STS-125 for a May launch which would allow the STS-119 Space Station mission to fly first and give addition time for the Hubble team to formulate repair plans.
 
Upcoming Milestones:
 
De-Mate and Roll to OPF (under review)
Rollout to Pad (under review)
Program Level Delta Flight Readiness Review
Agency Level Flight Readiness Review
Ordnance Installation
Payload Re-Installation
Payload Preparation and Closeout
EMU (extravehicular mobility unit) Installation and Functional Testing
Pre-Count Setups
Launch Countdown Call to Stations
 
 
Orbiter: OV-103 (Discovery)
STS-119 Mission Patch.  Courtesy: NASA
Mission: STS-401Launch on Need (LON) Support for the Hubble Mission (will be assigned to the STS-119 mission once the LON requirement is turned off); STS-119 ISS 15A (S6)
Current Location: OPF Bay 3
Target Launch Date: TBD (As required within 7 days of call up for LON)
Launch Window: ~ 66 Minutes (Based on Rendezvous Requirements)
Crew for STS-401: Commander Dominic Gorie, Pilot Gregory H. “Box” Johnson, and Mission Specialists Robert Behnken and Michael Foreman
Crew for STS-119: Commander Lee J. “Bru” Archambault, Pilot Dominic “Tony” Antonelli, Mission Specialists Joseph M. Acaba, Richard R. Arnold, John L. Philips, and Steve R. “Swanny” Swanson
Payload for STS-401: None (LON Rescue Assets Only)
Payload for STS-119: S6 Truss & Solar Arrays
External Tank: ET-130
Booster Set: BI-137/RSRM-105
Launch Platform: MLP-2
Launch Pad: Pad 39B/Pad 39 A
Mission Duration: ~ 8 Days
Target Landing Date: TBD
 
 
Processing Summary:
 
Processing of Discovery continues to progress in Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3 in preparation for the STS-119 mission. Should Shuttle Program Managers decide to fly the STS-125 Hubble mission in February of 2009 then Discovery would be tasked with the Launch on Need (LON) rescue mission assignment formerly held by Endeavour. The LON designation for Discovery would be STS-401. If that plan is adopted Discovery would Rollout to Pad 39B where it would remain until released from the LON mission after which a rollover to Pad 39A would occur followed by pre-launch processing for the STS-119 Mission.
 
Over the past week functional tests of the external tank umbilical well doors, landing gear, and radiator system, and crew hatch have all been completed. Work on the boundary layer trip experiment modification is currently underway.
 
Buildup of the solid rocket booster segments in the RPSF is complete. Stacking of the segments atop Mobile Launch Platform 2 (MLP-2) is expected to occur in High Bay 1 of the Vehicle Assembly Building on October 27.
 
Upcoming Milestones:
 
Booster Stacking (October 27)
ET Mate
Orbiter Rollover from OPF
Orbiter to ET Mate
Rollout to Pad
Flight Crew Equipment Stowage
Pre-Count Setups
Launch on Need Countdown Call to Stations (if required)
Stand Down from LON Support (Assumes STS-125 Cleared for Entry)
Move from Pad 39B to Pad 39A
Pad 39A Pre Launch Operations
STS-119 Launch TBD
 
 
Space Shuttle Status Updates are compiled and posted on a weekly basis unless operational circumstances dictate otherwise. Previous reports are available by selecting Manned from the left side menu bar and then clicking Mission Update Archive.
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