Friday, May 29, 2009

My desert storm experience when I took these pictures...the tail cone was about to be installed on Atlantis. The purpose of the tail cone is to cover the aft section so it reduces aerodynamic drag and turbulence. The plan is to try to get Atlantis leaving California early on Sunday morning, but that's all dependent on how processing operations go and if everything stays on track with no other issues.

Well, then we took a quick lunch....only to come out to see some bad weather over the mountains that eventually was going to near over the Orbiter! We quickly rushed back and performed a walkdown to make sure there were no loose tools or anything around that could damage Atlantis since we heard warnings for 50mph winds.

As we were performing the walkdown, the dust started picking up from the desert and visibility was poor. Here I am in a picture below thinking fighting dust storms is cool.

The tail cone was not installed due to the high winds and it's taking cover in a hanger. We just hope it doesn't rain on the Orbiter! The waterproofing agent on the thermal protection system gets burned off during re-entry. That's what helps the thermal protection system not absorb water. If it rains out here...we'll absorb water and there is a maximum weight that the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft can carry.


Christopher Lusardi said...

That dust has probably accumulated to about an inch deep on certain parts of Atlantis.

It's amazing. Who would of thought that a dust storm makes the sky look like a approaching rain storm.

Damaris B. Sarria said...

those clouds were full of rain, but luckily it was over the mountains nearby. We just got a couple of sprinkles, so nothing major. The weather is back to normal, and we're back to installing the tail cone.

Anonymous said...

Did you get a tour of the 747?

Hang around the steps and the old guy will invite you up. He loves his plane.

Also of note: Personally verify that the attach points actually say "attach orbiter here, black side down"

it's surreal.

John said...

I feel so left out.

Question: if the Atlantis absorbed water, would that take the weight of it up to over the weight of Discovery (dry)? I know each subsequent orbiter is lighter than the previous- how much concern would the water actually be?

space-monkey said...

Very cool!