Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Endeavour to land on Friday at KSC!

The first landing attempt will occur on Friday at 10:48 am EDT. The second landing attempt will occur at 12:22 pm EDT.

Earlier this week, Discovery rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building. The space shuttle is scheduled to roll out to Launch Pad 39A on Aug. 3 and the STS-128 astronauts will perform dress rehearsal activities Aug. 5 to Aug. 7 at KSC.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Endeavour's Thermal Protection System Cleared for Reentry!

After much analysis and briefings, Endeavour's thermal protection system has been cleared for reentry! The right hand side of the orbiter did exhibit some damage due to the foam that shed during ascent. However, only one of these damages really needed further evaluation due to the depth. In reviewing all the the high resolution photos, we saw a very clean heat shield with the exception of the foam damages. So, our job is done and now we're back at Kennedy Space Center. :)

Happy Moon Landing Day!!

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon. On July 20, 1969, the human race accomplished its single greatest technological achievement of all time when a human first set foot on another celestial body.

Six hours after landing at 4:17 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining), Neil A. Armstrong took the “Small Step” into our greater future when he stepped off the Lunar Module, named “Eagle,” onto the surface of the Moon, from which he could look up and see Earth in the heavens as no one had done before him.

He was shortly joined by “Buzz” Aldrin, and the two astronauts spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and returned 46 pounds of lunar rocks. After their historic walks on the Moon, they successfully docked with the Command Module “Columbia,” in which Michael Collins was patiently orbiting the cold but no longer lifeless Moon.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

STS-127: Flight Day 4

Late last night we finished the review images for any damage to Endeavour's heatshield. Aside from those damages that we detected during ascent, the vehicle was in pretty clean condition. Today there will be preparing charts and attend a series of meetings to discuss the damages we did find so they can be cleared for reentry. This involves putting charts together that include the dimensions, expected heating, etc. and a lot of discussion with the analysts.

Friday, July 17, 2009

STS-127: Flight Day 3

Today Endeavour will dock with the International Space Station (ISS). Prior to docking, the Orbiter will perform a rendezvous pitch maneuver which is basically a backflip that exposes its heat shield to the crew of the ISS astronauts to take high resolution photos of the Orbiter's heat shield for analysis by the team I am on.

We did detect some damage already due to the ascent video, but we will get a better look at these once the photos are downlinked from the ISS.

When the External Tank (ET) is jettisoned from the Endeavour, photos are also taken by the crew utilizing a handheld camera to take high-res images of the tank as it begins its descent. Here's a photo they were able to get of some foam missing from the ET. This could be the area from where foam the struck the Orbiter. However, based on what's been seen so far, it is unlikely the foam could have caused any serious damage to the tiles. We expect the damages to be minor cosmetic damage which usually only effects a small portion of the tile coating surface with not much depth to it. Watching the news after launch, I can say some over-exaggerate the issue and they make it sound a little frightening!

You can read a little more about today's activities and what's been going on at the following article:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Successful Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour!!

After five delays ranging from hydrogen leaks to unfavorable weather, space shuttle Endeavour and her crew are finally on their way to the International Space Station. Here are some pictures I took while I watched launch from the press site near the countdown clock.

Before launch I had a very quick interview with Central Florida News 13 where I got to talk a little bit about the thermal protection system imagery review we will be assisting with at Johnson Space Center. My friend Nicole was able to get a portion of the interview while she was watching it on TV (Thanks Nicole!):

I was able to get a quick shot of our international partners from JAXA who came out to witness the final two components for the Kibo module successfully launch with Endeavour!! Did you know that Kibo means 'hope'? :) Check out pages 33 - 68 in the STS-127 press kit that offers some awesome insight on the payload and the new "porch" in space. :)

Post flight, there was some debris and damage was was detected along the right side of the wing. From looking at the damage, it looks very similar to what occurred during STS-125. But that's exactly where my team comes into play. Right before docking with the ISS, the ISS crew will take high-res photos for us to view the area clearly. We should also be able to see the damage with the orbiter boom sensor system by tomorrow as well. I'm off to pack now and get ready for a flight to Johnson Space Center tomorrow to help out with this.

Weather Clearing up!

Weather is clearing up for us and the astronauts just passed by the building I work in to be on their way to the pad!

STS-127 Launch today?

Well, even though it looks like this outside right now, weather forecasters are still optimistic that the sea breeze will push those clouds inland. Launch is still scheduled for 6:03 p.m EDT today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Launch Scrubbed...again. :(

The official weather forecast for Wednesday's 6:03 p.m EDT launch time calls for a 60 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

By delaying 48 hours to Wednesday, engineers will have time to repair a rocket thruster rain cover that has pulled loose slightly. However, slipping to Wednesday means the crew likely will have to give up one day of their space station construction mission to undock and get out of the way before the Russian Soyuz supply ship arrives.

The outlook for Thursday's 5:37 p.m. EDT launch time has a 40 percent chance of good weather.

A fellow blog reader asked what the maximum fuel and drain limitations are for the external tank. The maximum number of fuel and drain cycles is 13.

Now let's cross our fingers for a Wednesday launch!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boo.. Launch SCRUBBED!

SCRUB! Thunderstorms west of the launch site prevented a launch today for space shuttle Endeavour

We will try again Monday. The target liftoff time will be 6:51:24 p.m. EDT.

Interview with Miles O'Brien and David Waters on

Did you see it? I just finished my interview on with Miles O'Brien and David Waters!

We're good to go today!

The STS-127 launch attempt was postponed for 24 hours yesterday while the launch team reviewed data and performed subsystem checks due to some significant lightning strikes that hit Pad A on Friday afternoon. NASA says no problems with shuttle systems have been found in the post-lightning checks. No damage was found to any of the Shuttle's electrical subsystems and all the retest tasks have been successfully completed. NASA says no problems with shuttle systems have been found in the post-lightning checks.

We have better weather today, with only 30% chance of showers or thunderstorms prohibiting launch.

Launch is set for 7:13pm EDT. I will still have a interview with, but due to the slight launch delay, my interview will be a little earlier at 5:15pm EDT.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

STS-127 Launch Scrubbed for 7/11/09

The launch of space shuttle Endeavour has been postponed for 24 hours to allow the launch team sufficient time to perform evaluation and retesting of launch pad and launch vehicle sytems as the result of lightning strikes near the launch pad last night. The official tally on the lightning strikes from last night is 11 hits within 0.3 miles of the pad. The pad's water tank was hit and the lightning mast was struck a couple of times.

Endeavour's launch tomorrow will be at 7:13 p.m. EDT. Weather forecasters predict a 40 percent chance that weather will prevent a liftoff due to thunderstorms.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Do You Think We'll Launch?

Join Miles O'Brien, David Waters and astronaut Leroy Chiao for our live webcast of Endeavour's launch on Saturday from Kennedy Space Center. The show starts at 3:00 pm EDT at I will be interviewed by them at 5:45 pm EDT!!!!

Air Force weather forecasters continue to predict a 60% chance that thunderstorms will interfere with Saturday's scheduled launch of shuttle Endeavour. :(

Monday, July 06, 2009

Back from the West Coast!

Well, I'm back from my vacation from the West Coast and I had a great time. Below are just some highlights of my trip!

Big Four Ice Caves in Washington: The snow had not melted yet so the caves were not formed yet.

Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington:

Bonneville Lock and Dam in Oregon:

Multnomah Falls in Oregon:

Mount St. Helens in Washington:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Hello from Washington!

Even though I am on vacation, I still try to visit either a school, company, or organization to talk about the Space Shuttle. So this time I just visited my sister's company, Tetra Tech to give a briefing on the Orbiter's Thermal Protection System and mission turn-around process.

As for my vacation...We did a lot of hiking at Granite Falls and Mount Rainier National Park. We visited Ocean Shores and geesh was the water cold!! I have definitely become accustomed the to the warm Florida waters. :) The weather has been great here in Washington. Completely sunny and around the 70s. Tomorrow we head to Oregon for a couple of days. I was going to upload photos of the sites we've visited now that I finally got internet access, but I forgot the cord to download the pictures from the camera at the house. duh...

So here's a quick update on some space stuff while I've been away:

  • Looks like the tanking test proved to be successful today and no leaks were found! Yey!! This makes a July 11th launch for Space Shuttle Endeavour look a little more promising. (Hopefully weather won't be an issue now!)

  • NEW ASTRONAUTS SELECTED!! What we've all been waiting for!! CLICK HERE to read all about them!

  • Construction is under way on a new mobile launcher for the Constellation Program. The new mobile launcher will be the base for the Ares rockets to launch the Orion crew exploration vehicle and the cargo vehicle. The base is being made lighter than space shuttle mobile launcher platforms so the crawler-transporter can pick up the added load of the 345-foot tower and taller rocket. When the structural portion of the new launcher is complete, umbilical lines, access arms, communications equipment and command/control equipment will be installed.