Archive for November, 2010
Very cool way to teach about energy waves. Using the steps on this page you can even calculate the speed of light using just about any microwave and a package of marshmallows.
During the replenish phase of tanking the external fuel tank in preparation for today’s planned launch of STS-133, crews detected a hydrogen leak at the ground umbilical carrier plate (GUCP). The GUCP vents away gaseous hydrogen so that it can be safely burned off away from the launch pad. This problem is reminiscent of STS-127 which was scrubbed twice due to elevated hydrogen levels detected around the GUCP. After the second scrub, launch was postponed 25 days while the GUCP was redesigned and tested.
The launch has been postponed until at least Monday. A news conference at 1pm (shown on NASA TV of course) should have more information.
Activities will also be carried live on one of JPL’s Ustream channels at: http://www.ustream.tv/user/NASAJPL2 .
3 delays so far, all due to technical issues. First 2 were issues around the orbital maneuvering system. The latest is due to an electrical problem in the main engines. Current schedule has launch moved to Thursday Nov 4 at 3:29 pm EDT. That’s looking a bit optismitic with the forecast showing rain, wind, and low clouds. Forecast as of this morning has only a 30% of favorable conditions for launch. Details on the criteria NASA uses in determine if the weather is good enough to allow for launch see the Space Shuttle Weather Launch Commit Criteria, which has been updated over the years but most influenced by the loss of Challenger during STS-51L in unusually cold weather.
The forecast issued by the Air Force used by NASA in planning is available here . It is updated each morning around 7:15 am starting 5 days ahead of the first scheduled launch.