Discovery’​s Launch – Countdown Progresses

Tue, 22 Feb 2011 10:10:08 -0600

 Space shuttle Discovery continues to move toward launch Thursday, Feb. 24, as technicians put the finishing touches on the spacecraft and the launch team runs through the countdown checklist. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:50 p.m. EST. The weather forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time.

A minor problem came up when a regulator in the reactant storage system developed a slight leak, NASA Test Director Steve Payne said.

 “In this case, we’ve seen it before,” Payne said, adding that the system has numerous redundancies and the leak is so small. A waiver is to be completed soon and no impact to the countdown or launch is expected.

 This is the last flight of Discovery, and with the shuttle program nearing retirement, Payne said crowds are growing to see the last launches.

 “People are starting to realize they either see one now or they don’t get to see one,” Payne said.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Space shuttle Discovery’s STS-133 crew arrived on the Shuttle Landing Facility runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard four T-38 jets. In the days leading up to their launch to the International Space Station, the crew members will check the fit of their launch-and-entry suits, review launch-day procedures, receive weather briefings and remain medically quarantined to prevent sickness. This will be the second launch attempt for Discovery’s crew, following a scrub in November 2010 due to a hydrogen gas leak at the ground umbilical carrier plate (GUCP) as well as modifications to the external fuel tank’s intertank support beams, called stringers

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