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STS-118: Omnibus Thread

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posted on Aug, 3 2007 @ 02:45 PM
A thread for all things to do with STS-118, mostly good news one would hope. The launch is now scheduled for next Wednesday mid-afternoon Florida time according to this Reuters release at 3:14PM EDT.

This mission has one of my favorite crews (each one is my favorite) and not just because this one has a Canadian on-board, but because of the various back stories to each crew-person. These are humans of a wide variety of admirable qualities and superior skills. I look forward to following this mission as I have a liittle time off this month and would welcome member input and participation.

Cheers, "GO FLIGHT!"


[edit on 3-8-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Aug, 5 2007 @ 09:48 AM
Some delays are part-and-parcel of any technology. Whether it's spacedflight or member upload space (I kid) some delays are worth waiting for.

A good example is during the time interval required for the STS cabin over-press valve cannibalization change out more checks and tests and training have occurred. A work around for a faulty fiber-op link from Pad 39A was accomplished and the big tanks for H and LOX are topped right up for a 3 in 5 attempt sked... so far everything is "nominal", the countdown is proceeding and has been "bumped" to allow for a 6:36PM EDT launch on Wednesday.

I have a variety of human interest and technical bits I'll upload as soon as possible. CSA is "making a big deal" out of STS-118, far more than 116... politics and more politics, icky.

Oh yeah, Commander Kelly is doing "touches" at Kennedy in the Gulfstream today... the crew seems "up".
I know I'm "up" for 118.

This mission, 13.A1 in the ISS assembly missions manifest will have a few firsts some with potential drama. I'll trya and capture it from T - Minus 60 minutes to wheel staop and crew disembarkation.

Mission Specialist Morgan... story and a half, no - two stories, maybe more. More later. Commander Kelly, a twin (my favorite folks!). "Hobie" Hobaugh... quiet genius. Colonel Drew... potential Moonwalker, and my two favs MS Caldwell and Dafydd "Dave" Rhys Williams.

A new power transfer loop that will allow for STS to stay an extra two or so days will be attempted - kind of an extension cord to draw and convert ISS power to the correct spec to augment STS's on orbit APU consumables which are finite. It's name is SSPTS and this is the first flight for it to be used in a meaningful way.

Spacewalks. 4 planned with a possible extra 1, perhaps 2. A manual CMG hand-off will be attempted, another truss, a storage platform and hopefully they'll get the the chance to refasten the MMOD covers that were difficult to align on the 117 walks and this is also SpaceHabs last flight.

At some point they will need to get another CMG or two up there as even with this one they are one to two CMG failures away from real attitude control problems.

A quickie update courtesy, "Astronauts Get In Extra Practice Before Launch"



posted on Aug, 5 2007 @ 08:06 PM
Primed and ready.
Plan to be watching, right along with ya, this time , Vic.( helping when I can.)

Good luck to Command and Crew.

I have a variety of human interest and technical bits I'll upload as soon as possible.

Could this include NEEMO, per chance?

Lets hope this launch goes, as smooth as, the Phoenix launch, this past Saturday. *crosses fingers*

posted on Aug, 5 2007 @ 08:18 PM
Good to have you aboard Jbird! If you feel like it, maybe add some stuff? There's a surplus of stories to accompany this flight. I have no NEEMO stuff, although they are "doing spacewalks" of a sort. I'm a bit behind today and have some company for the evening but I'll be "on it large" from tomorrow on.

Couple of quickie bits from today: NASA's luckiest weather-person is "70% favourable for Wednesday" and the countdown clocks (not the NASA webpage clock) are running as of about an hour or so ago. They are "working no issues" at this time.

The cabin over-press valve problem turned out to be a piece of debris on the valve seat as opposed to a valve failure. The delay has been used to run a variety of extra checks and has discovered no new concerns.



posted on Aug, 5 2007 @ 09:07 PM
Ok, well, it's a little off topic but since we have a few days till launch,
here's human interest info on Aquarius and NEEMO,
the 45' x 13', part time undersea astronaut training habitat, situated off the coast of FLA.

Always made me wonder about their choice of location,
with all the Hurricanes, strafing Florida,
but I guess they just evacuate, if need be.

It even has it's own 'rover' , The Scuttle.

And some more , relating directly to current STS118 Canadian astronaut,
Dave Williams' involment in NEEMO9

Canadian astronaut Dave Williams led the longest NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) excursion to date aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aquarius Underwater Laboratory off the Florida coast.

18 days underwater broke the previous record.

posted on Aug, 6 2007 @ 10:30 AM
NASA and Microsoft have teamed up to to showcase some NASA content in 3D including STS missions. It requires XP SP2 or Vista and some hardware minimums.

I wasn't "blown away" or anything but it would seem to be of some value and does offer some shots I'd never seen before. Those with an interest can check the default page here.

More later today, cheers,


EDIT: To add video link explaining the process here.

[edit on 6-8-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Aug, 6 2007 @ 01:57 PM
Cringing everytime this thing goes up. My best hopes are with those astronauts and their families. The machine although a marvel is 30+ year old technology and should have had a replacement 15 years ago. Just as I wouldn't drive my 1977 Charger cross-country, I wouldn't want to be taking this thing to ISS and back.

I just have this feeling that somebody in someone/goverment/NASA is trying to end the manned space program for whatever reason.

posted on Aug, 6 2007 @ 06:43 PM
All links in the following posts by me are at NASA unless stated otherwise:

Endeavour was originally slated to fly this mission in Oct 2006 but stuff happens, skeds get bent, she is the freshest horse in the barn. Minted after Challenger and then they "broke the molds". The last Orbital Vehicle, OV-105, announced by 41' and named by school kids, first flight 1992 03/13/92 STS-49 and delivered by Rockwell in '91. $2.2B 1991 USD. 172,000 pounds with engines. $1280.00/lb. A pre-refit backgrounder on Endeavour's history. A news release after the refit was "80% finished" in 2005 which quotes Wayne Hale (Program Manager and "on team" since STS-1), here.

Endeavour is not only the newest but the least flown since RTF Operations began. She has sat in "the parking lot" while her sisters Atlantis and Diacovery have been busy. The others sisters have behaved well or rather not badly since their more concentrated less extensive refits. Each mission is unique. Each one exciting, boring and dangerous.

Is Endeavour "sound"? That's what the checklists are for. Wayne Hale said at the FRR, "Brand new - just like showroom." (I paraphrase). But it's the intangibles... what Borman called, "the failure of imagination". There are some other unique issues with this "Orbiter Stack" to do with the SRB's that may turn out to be a non-issue. Not too much data about that.

The machine's as ready as can be... the people? Even more so... some have been waiting for more than two decades for this particular flight.

More in a bit.



[edit on 6-8-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Aug, 6 2007 @ 10:44 PM
Nice to see the STS-118 thread up and running Vic, I'll be watching it closely, and add what I can during this mission. You had mentioned the crew a few posts back, but just briefly. I figured I could add some pictures and bio tidbits for other members to see without having to link elsewhere.

Here's a crew photo I love because of the background.
They all look ready to go.

Pictured from the left are astronauts Richard A. (Rick) Mastracchio, mission specialist; Barbara R. Morgan, mission specialist; Charles O. Hobaugh, pilot; Scott J. Kelly, commander; Tracy E. Caldwell, Canadian Space Agency's Dafydd R. (Dave) Williams, and Alvin Drew Jr., all mission specialists.
(public domain from NASA)

Rick Mastracchio, who is 47, is from Waterbury, Conn. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and two masters degrees. He is married, and has three children. He had worked with NASA contractors Hamilton Standard and Rockwell Shuttle Operations Company, and first joined NASA in 1990 as an engineer in flight crew operations before entering the astronaut corps in 1996.......

His previous flight was aboard Atlantis in 2000, when he and the rest of the crew spent an 11-day mission preparing the International Space Station for its first permanent crew by bringing up nearly 7,000 pounds of supplies, as well as installing essentials like a treadmill and a toilet.

Barbara Radding Morgan, is the best known member of the crew because of her role as the educator astronaut. Ms. Morgan had been selected as the backup “teacher in space” for Christa McAuliffe for the January 1986 flight of the shuttle Challenger. After the Challenger broke apart during launching and its crew of seven died, NASA named her the teacher in space designee.

Ms. Morgan was selected as a full-fledged member of the astronaut corps in 1998. Now 55, she is married to Clay Morgan and they have two sons. She has taught in Idaho and Ecuador, and said that exploring the world — and what is above it — comes naturally to her as a teacher........

During the mission, she will be responsible for transferring 5,000 pounds of supplies and equipment between the shuttle and the space station, and will operate the shuttle and station robotic arms.

Charles Owen Hobaugh, the pilot, is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps. He is 45, and was born in Bar Harbor, Me. and is married to the former Corinna Lynn Learman; they have four children. Colonel Hobaugh, whose nickname is “Scorch,” earned his college degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy. His official NASA biography states that he enjoys a full slate of physical activity, including weightlifting, skiing, and triathlons.

Like Commander Kelly, he was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps in 1996, and has flown one previous mission, in 2001.

Scott J. Kelly, the commander on this mission, is also a commander in the Navy. He is 43 and was born in Orange, N.J. He and his wife, the former Leslie S. Yandell, have two children.

Commander Kelly graduated from the State University of New York Maritime College, and earned a masters in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee. His twin brother, Mark, served as pilot of the shuttle Discovery on a mission last year.

NASA selected Commander Kelly for the astronaut corps in 1996, and he has flown in space once before: as pilot on a flight in 1999 aboard the shuttle Discovery to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Tracy E. Caldwell, a Californian who is 38, will have a birthday in space on Aug. 14. She has a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of California at Davis. This will be her first space flight, and she will be working the shuttle’s robotic arm to inspect the shuttle’s heat tiles for launch damage and work with spacewalking astronauts from inside the spacecraft, among other tasks. Back on earth, she is a vocalist in the astronaut band Max Q.

Daffydd Rhys Williams, an astronaut from the Canadian Space Agency, was born in Saskatoon. Dr. Williams goes by Dave; his father gave him the name Daffydd as a tribute to the family’s Welsh heritage. “So of course in elementary school it was always very hard, because I’d go and the teachers would think that I spelled my name wrong, you know, and they’d be correcting,” he said. “And I’d go, ‘No, no, this is really how it’s spelled.’ ”

He is 53 and is married, with two children; he graduated from McGill University in Montreal, and received his medical training there as well. He was chosen as a Canadian astronaut in 1992, and came to NASA in 1995, and flew aboard the shuttle Columbia in a mission in 1998...

Col. Benjamin Alvin Drew, Jr. is in the Air Force and is the newest member of the crew. He was assigned just four months before the flight after NASA officials decided to send astronaut Clay Anderson to replace Sunita Williams aboard the International Space Station on an earlier shuttle mission than had been originally planned.

During his Air Force career, Colonel Drew flew combat missions in the in Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama, in 1989, and in first Gulf War. He is 43, was selected by NASA in 2000.

He is from Washington, D.C. and is single. He was shocked to get the call about joining this mission.

Much more information is available at the link above, and NASA has full crew profiles at the link below.

My best wishes are with all these fine men and women, my thoughts are with you for your journey, and let's all hope for a successful flight.

One other picture, the crew patch for this flight:

More later as the mission develops.

posted on Aug, 6 2007 @ 11:05 PM
STS-118 ISS Assembly Mission 13A.1 has a great crew with one late addition owing of the "bumping" of Clayton Anderson from 118 crew to replace Suni W. on ISS via STS-117... is that right? Yeah. It's a bit of a complicated history.

Here's STS-118's nominal flight crew in photos for this mission:

The STS-118 crew patch story; the flame of knowledge, here.

Left seat, Commander Scott J. Kelly Second trip (1st was Hubble) , 1st command. Biography.

Right seat, Pilot Lieutenant Colonel Charles O. Hobaugh Second trip as pilot, call sign: Scortch Nickname: Hobie Biography.

Seat 3, Colonel Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr. First trip uphill and a late addition. Nickname: BA Biography.

Seat 4, Mission Specialist Richard A. (Rick) Mastracchio. Biography.

Mission Specialist Barbara Morgan, educator astronaut first trip uphill. Biography.

Mission Specialist Tracey Caldwell, first trip uphill. Awesome Biography.

Mission Specialist Dafydd Rhys (Dave) Williams Nickname: Super-Dave Biography. Second trip up. First non-American appointed to a directorial position at NASA.

NASA has an image gallery for this particular mission... check it from time to time.

NASA has an expanded section on their website for an STS-118 Education Resources Page. It is very well done.

For those who wonder who does what at those 19 Shuttle Mission Control consoles NASA has a handy flash feature that allows one to click on a console and see what it is used for, here.

A quick video on SRB inspection here (Copy and paste shorcut into Mediaplayer).

For those who appreciate the "non-glamorous" bits of important space hardware a link to a NASA article on SpaceHab which is on it's last scheduled flight, here.

The weather forecast for Wednesday has improved since earlier today and Friday looks even better.

Shuttle Control is working no issues T - minus 1 day 18 hours 31 minutes 10 seconds to nominal launch.



[edit on 6-8-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Aug, 6 2007 @ 11:21 PM
For any students following this thread, and want to write to the teacher that decided to go to space, you can send a letter here:

Mrs. Barbara Morgan
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas

Please take the time to read her biography, she's an inspiration to us all.

posted on Aug, 6 2007 @ 11:53 PM
Yeah anx' this flight will be a real moment in history in so many ways. Astronaut-Educator Morgan has a HUGE responsibility... do you know how many kids will watch? How many bright young at-risk minds she can reach? All of 'em I hope.

The teacher in space portion of the flight was originally slated for a single 20 minute session back about a year ago... it may be expanded. NASA sees the value - it's really a no-brainer and we may see (should the SSTPS work) an extended or extra session towards the end of the nominal extended mission timeline. This additional timeline has not been announced publicly to my knowledge and one could guess that all mission objectives completed a great session or sessions could result.

Some have railed against this over the years since Challenger citing the activity as somehow unappropriate - well Astronaut Morgan is now a fully qualified Mission Specialist as well as an Educator-Astronaut so those "voices" can't really complain. It could be and should be a great success. It also is risky, and well worth the risks given the potential reward.

The surviving lady Mercury astronaut candidates and some of the folks around the original Teacher In Space program will be attending the launch... some will be there for validation, some for closure - all are pioneers and unsung for their roles. I think Dr. Ride will be attending too.



[edit on 7-8-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 09:56 AM
The L-1 Countdown Status Briefing was "clean"; no issues and no "upper-management" types at the podium (which is a bit unusual). NASA Test Director Spaulding indicated Endeavour's on-board cryo have been loaded. Weather is now 80% chance of "Go" according to 45th Space Wing USAF weather-person Winters (who has an amazing lucky-streak for being around on good-weather days). MSM questions were "lobs".

Orbiter and ground facilities are set to power up at about 3:30PM EDT today, and a regime of checks for the Pad and Orbiter begin then. The big ground cryo tanks are "full" and according to Spaulding they have a 4 attempts in 5 days scenario, 5 days Hydrogen and 12 days LOX. Should Wednesday be a scrub, Thursday and Saturday are the nominal alternates. Wednesday's launch windows is ten minutes starting at 6:31PM EDT.

Next milestone of note will be RSS (Rotating Service Structure) retract which should happen this afternoon or evening and visual inspection of the Orbiter/ET/SRB's and Pad continue.

The count is coming up on a built-in 13:41 hold... T-Minus 31 hours and 40 minutes 10 seconds to nominal lift-off.



[edit on 7-8-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 10:21 AM
It's a shame we can't have a count-down clock at the top of the thread.
Is there any way to put one in a signature line.

I noticed they had a Progress arrive over the week-end, and had a question.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have a fresh supply of food, water and other vital supplies onboard after the flawless Sunday arrival of an unmanned Russian cargo ship.

The automated supply ship Progress 26 docked at the space station at 2:40 p.m. EDT (1840 GMT) as both spacecraft flew high above central Europe.

"Contact confirmed, we can see capture," said Expedition 15 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, a Russian cosmonaut who stood ready to take remote control of Progress 26 should its automated docking systems fail.

But Progress 26 did not require Yurchikhin's help to dock at the station's Russian-built Pirs docking compartment, and successfully delivered 2.5 tons of fresh supplies to the station's three-astronaut crew.

That puts a Progress supply ship, a Soyuz escape pod, and now they'll dock a Shuttle.
Just how many parking places does ISS have, and could they dock more than one Shuttle at a time if they needed a rescue mission?

posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 10:41 AM
Actually there's two Progress and one Soyuz docked at this time. Yes, there is one extra Russian-spec dock. There is only one Shuttle docking point at this time although the original design called for two. Designs change, budgets shrink, stuff happens.

A great deal of work has been done to make docking flexible for the upcoming Euro-ATV and Japanese cargo vehicles. There are concerns that the CEV may, depending on design finalization, not be compatible with the Russian-spec docks. Shuttle rescue scenarios all require EVA and "parking" space. The available space and rescue scenarios were all explored in the CAIB report.



EDIT: To add links for NASA's new wireless STS TPS tile scanner here. And pics of the unit here.

[edit on 7-8-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 02:03 PM
The First Lady has had a chat with with Educator-Astronaut Morgan offering encouragement. The STS-118 crew had lunch at 1:00PM EDT with their families and will, other than a Pad inspection visit, have a "light" day.

There is a Mission Briefing update tomorrow morning at 8:30AM EDT on NASA-TV. There are no launch-related issues at this time. Things are a bit busy on ISS at the moment relating to the recent Progress docking and unloading, mostly schedule and inventory related.

There appears to be some difficulty downloading images and video via Ku band to Mission Control. Astronaut Anderson has reloaded two laptops from image files but the problem continues and is not serious but time-consuming. Time is something that has been a schedule bug-a-boo for ISS and mission plans seem to be in a constant state of change for both Russian and American ground staff. Kotov, Yurchikin and Anderson have all expressed frustration at different times in the past several weeks with the schedule, inventory, and mission procedures.

Photos and reports from ISS have slowed considerably since the previous increment... no explanation has been offered or asked for by the press... a recent piece from in the form of an editorial note may expain partly. I put it down to time-pressures. The SpacRef bit here..



[edit on 7-8-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 07:14 AM
STS-118, Endeavour spent a quiet night with no issues presenting as off-nominal. Cryo-tanking should begin in the next half hour or so (between about 8:00AM and 8:45AM EDT). Doppler weather is nominal. There will be a launch briefing at 8:30AM EDT and it will be broadcast on NASA-TV and can be accessed from the 'Net at 10 hours 23 minutes to nominal launch.




posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 07:45 AM
T minus 5 hours 56 minutes and counting...

live coverage just began about 15 mins ago...

[edit on 8 8Aug 07 by m3rlz]

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 07:51 AM
VK, glad to see u started this thread, i just read the previous posts, lots of good info in here...

are u planning on recording this mission? i will try to record as much of it as i can...

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 08:17 AM
Hi m3', I will attempt to capture the entire mission using 2 PC's and some capture software. I'm interested in all the footage but there are times "better" than others for selective recording. Ascent and the period immediately after and docking day and sometimes the spacewalks are interesting for less technical reasons.

I watched a highlights reel of STS-1 last night... can you say debris at ET tank sep? The current External Tank ET-117 on STS-118 was for STS-114 but RTF CAIB specs forced it back to Michoud for re-fit... the newer foam tanks shed "nothing" compared to the original... "nothings" and ice can be "not good".

This is the last of the pre-RTF tanks. Did you know that the crew space frame for Endeavour was made in 1982? Or that the bulk of OV-105 was made up of spares from the stores originally reserved for Columbia/Atlantis/Discovery/Challenger? I was really surprised how different each Orbiter is... and how old and how new these birds are. The people who actually make these things are amazing. With the new GPS they can land at any suitable air field not just military sites.

The launch briefing that was supposed to be broadcast at 8:30AM EDT is late... no mention of it at all. Not unusual these days. The meeting happened at 7:30AM EDT. Sometimes if a NASA-TV event is "blown through" they say nothing. This happens or is happening more frequently since RTF. Sometimes they pop-up on their website.

All systems nominal, cryo-load upshifting to "fast-fill", all 4 ET ECOS are "wet" and when sent a "dry" command responded nominally (whew)... tanking fill estimate 2.5 hours. The folks in firing room 4 keep looking at one monitor set and pointing at something.

45th Space Wing over at Patrick AFB is 90% for launch window 6:31 to 6:43PM EDT, on a nominal 6:36PM EDT liftoff.

More in a bit,


[edit on 8-8-2007 by V Kaminski]

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