Sunday, November 30, 2008

Endeavour to land at Edwards Air Force Base

With the forecasts predicting unfavorable weather at Florida's Kennedy Space Center proving true today and little hope of better conditions tomorrow, NASA has decided to divert space shuttle Endeavour's landing to the backup site at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The deorbit burn is scheduled for 3:19 p.m. EST (12:19 p.m. local; 2019 GMT), leading to touchdown at 4:25 p.m. EST (1:25 p.m. local; 2125 GMT) to conclude the 16-day flight.

No Landing today at KSC

Both landing attempts for today have been waived off and a final decision has not been made to land at Edwards Air Force Base. Even tomorrow's weather here at Kennedy Space Center does not look too great. It's pretty windy, there is a lot of cloud cover, and afternoon thunderstorms should be moving in.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Endeavour Undocks from the ISS

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving with family or friends. The crew of Endeavour and the International Space Station spent Thanksgiving together onboard the ISS. This morning at 9:47am EDT, Endeavour undocked from the ISS to make its way home.

This afternoon, we have some engineers from our group that are at Johnson Space Center to to carry out a final inspection of the Orbiter's reinforced carbon carbon nose cap and wing leading edge panels. The final inspection ensures no damage from space debris has occurred since the inspection performed the day after launch.

Landing is scheduled for Sunday Nov. 30 at 1:19 p.m. EST on runway 15.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Presentation at Florida Institute of Technology

Today I will be giving a presentation to the graduate students of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Florida Institute of Technology. I will be talking about the Thermal Protection System and also of my experience down in Houston supporting Endeavour's STS-126 mission.

Just last night I applied to the Space Science Master's program at FIT. Below is a description of the degree program. I have my letters of recommendation in progress and I have to work on sending my transcripts and statement of objectives over. My goal is to have all this completed by the end of the weekend.

The space sciences graduate program stresses astrophysics, astrodynamics, space and planetary physics, cosmic ray physics, space instrumentation, physics of lightning, solar-terrestrial interrelations, terrestrial geomagnetism and stellar photometry. Graduate study in space sciences at the master’s level prepares the graduate for a wide range of scientific and technical responsibilities in industry and government related directly or indirectly to the space program.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Endeavour's TPS in great condition

I've returned from Houston and I have to say that Endeavour had very little debris hits and was very 'clean'. We didn't notice anything major that would effect a nominal re-entry of the vehicle.

On Flight Day 3 is when we receive the imagery taken by the crew on the ISS. The imagery is taken right before the Orbiter docks with the ISS. We then review the entire outer surface of the Orbiter for any debris hit, protruding gap fillers, or blanket anomalies with the thermal protection system. We have specified criteria for certain zones of the Orbiter that we use to evaluate and assess the damages.

Yesterday, the “Leonardo” Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) was transferred from Endeavour’s payload bay to Node 2 of the ISS for the exchange of cargo/supplies. While today's EVA was going on to service the starboard solar array rotary joint, the rest of the crew inside the ISS worked on moving the two water recycling racks and the new galley from the MPLM into the ISS.

Endeavour is scheduled to return to KSC on November 29, 2008 at 2:10 EST.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Successful Launch of Endeavour

Watching the launch from the beach was so awesome!! It was such a clear night that I was able to see the solid rocket booster separation. I'm currently in Houston and we're about to get the photos that the ISS crew will be taking of the Endeavour's Thermal Protection System (TPS). We'll then inspect the TPS for any anomalies.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Segments of Ares I-X for 2009 Test Flight

Below are some photos of the segments for the Ares I-X rocket to be used in a test flight targeted for July 2009.

The upper stage segments will simulate the mass and the outer mold line and will be more than 100 feet of the total vehicle height of 327 feet. The simulator comprises 11 segments that are approximately 18 feet in diameter. Most of the segments will be approximately 10 feet high, ranging in weight from 18,000 to 60,000 pounds, for a total of approximately 450,000 pounds.

The bottom two photos are of first-stage segment (forward skirt). The segment is fabricated entirely of armored steel, weighs 14,000 pounds, and is 7 feet tall and 12.25 feet wide.

1 Day Until STS-126 Launch!

So far we're go for launch tomorrow. We now have a 70% chance of favorable weather for launch!! Be sure to keep up with live mission updates as we get closer to the countdown:

I have some friends that I met over the summer from ISU's Space Studies Program in Barcelona, Spain. They're visiting from the Washington D.C. area, Canada, Spain, and Germany and this will be the first launch experience for most. We will all be watching the launch from the beach. It will be a good mini-reunion before I head out to Houston!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2 Days Until STS-126 Launch!

Yesterday evening, Atlantis was moved to the Orbiter Processing Facility 1, where it will undergo some modifications that would have been done after its flight. However, since we had the Hubble mission delay, we might as well take advantage of time and perform the work now. The date for the Atlantis (STS-125) launch is still projected to be around May 2009.

We’re officially 2 days way from launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-126). There is a 60% chance of favorable weather. If for some reason we are delayed, the next launch attempt would be on 11/15 at 7:29pm EDT. The crew arrived yesterday from Houston and they are ready for their mission.

Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 Air and Space Show at Kennedy Space Center

Over the weekend the 2008 Air and Space Show was held at Kennedy Space Center. Here are a couple of awesome shots of the aircraft at the show (including the F/A-18 Blue Angels, F-4, F-16 and F-104G Starfighter!!)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Update: 2009 Astronaut Selection

The Astronaut Selection Office has selected 450 highly qualified applicants. They are currently in the process of contacting the references the applicants provided and mailing out a medical form for the applicants to get a medical evaluation. From information provided by the references and the medical evaluation, the selection panel will invite 120 of those applicants for interviews at Johnson Space Center in January 2009.

I haven't heard anything yet, so there still may be a chance. :) It's projected that all of the selected applicants should be notified by the end of November.

There are many who have recieved the medical form or have heard that their references have been contacted...Good luck to all that applied!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

10 days until STS-126 launch!

Last week the crew was at Kennedy Space Center for their countdown rehearsal. Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour is currently scheduled for Nov. 14 at 7:55 p.m. EST and landing is scheduled for Nov. 29 at 2:18 p.m.

I will also be preparing to travel to Houston for this mission to assist with the on-orbit imagery inspection of the Thermal Protection System ensuring the vehicle and crew will have a safe re-entry.