Thu, 24 Feb 2011 09:27:27 -0600
The fueling process has finished for space shuttle Discovery in a major milestone leading up to launch. Pumps will continue to trickle propellants into the tank to replace the small amounts that evaporate during the countdown. Operations to fill the external tank concluded at 10:19 a.m. Liftoff remains on schedule for 4:50 p.m. EST today. The external fuel tank holds 535,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen to power Discovery’s three main engines during the 8 1/2-minute climb into orbit.
The countdown has entered a planned 2.5-hour hold at T-3 hours, during which the tank will remain in “stable replenish” mode, the Close Out Crew will prepare the white room, and the Final Inspection Team will conduct its inspections. NASA Television will begin launch commentary at 11:30 a.m.