When we heard heavy rain this morning as one of our roomates left at 5, we had a clue that it was coming. The 5:30 AM weather briefing pushed back the launch by approx. 24 hours to Friday at 3:09 PM eastern.
Our Nasa tweetup coordinator, Stephanie is awesome. The tweetup tent is still there, but the air conditioners for it had to be returned to the rental place. Of course, tomorrow is supposed to have a high of 69F, so I’m not concerned about needing an air conditioner. I’m ore concerned about needing a blanket! We have a speaker schedule starting at 9:30 AM.I really ought to be thinking about some relevant questions for our speakers, but I’m still just boggling that I’m here! We get to wave to the astronauts as they ride on their way to the shuttle. Wheee!
This is an uncertain proposition. We will find out at 6am how things are an if Nasa will continue to try to launch. There is a 60% chance of good weather for the launch.
But unfortunately we just got word on twitter that they have rolled the Rotating Service Structure back around Discovery. They haven’t said why. This doesn’t necessarily bode well for a launch tomorrow.
Here’s a quick link to a reliable site with a good explanation of the latest cause of the launch delay.
One of the difficulties of attending a space launch is delays. There are SO many different things that impact the ability of the shuttle to leave the earth’s gravity that any oddities in the testing of the systems. All of the redundant systems are tested to make sure that they are working. If a redundant system isn’t working on the ground, its just junk being hauled up.
That’s the problem. There are electrical problems/inconsistencies with components on one of the main engines on the shuttle itself. The Shuttle mission management team has now set the launch for Thursday at 3:39 pm. Unfortunately with the additional delay more folks are not able to make the launch. Not to mention lots of additional work and expense with all the delays for our tweetup coordinator. Stephanie Schierholz, the tweetup coordinator, has done an incredible job of dealing with changing schedules, and fluctuating attendees.
But it has been an incredible time so far. I have seen the shuttle from as close as they will allow people to view it. I have had the very rare opportunity to walk inside the Vehicle Assembly Building. I have visited the Saturn V center when all the other visitors weren’t there. We were driven alongside the runway on the taxiway where the shuttle lands. I have been Timmy’s personal photographer for the launch. It has been such an amazing experience for all of us.
I really want to be here when it flies. More than that, I want it to take off safely for the astronauts inside. If the mechanical items are good, and the anomalous readings are accounted for, the weather may delay things. The weather is only 30% good for a launch on Thursday. The next day that NASA will attempt a launch is Saturday. Friday is a rest day, since everyone involved has been on duty since before Monday. These folks will need to get a break. So no attempt will be made on Friday, but there are 2 more available windows on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
I have some really incredible and awesome pictures on my camera to download. And I have been to some of the places where my father was when he was here in 1966 – 1970. I will stay through the Thursday attempt. I’d like to stay through Saturday. The weather possibilities are much better at that point. But it depends on the mechanical evaluation tomorrow. We will continue to keep our fingers crossed for the launch on Thursday.