STS-118 Mission Updates: Part 1

Shuttle Astronauts BeginFirst Full Day in Space
9 August 2007 8:42 a.m. EDT

Theseven-astronaut crew of NASA's space shuttle Endeavour has begun the first fullday in space of the STS-118 mission.

Theastronauts awoke to the song "Where My Heart Will Take Me" by RussellWatson, the theme to "Star Trek: Enterprise," chosen for Endeavourmission specialist Rick Mastracchio.

"Good morning Endevourand an especially good morning to you this morning Rick," NASA astronautShannon Lucid, serving as spacecraft communicator in Mission Control, told theastronauts.

Endeavour'sSTS-118 crew will spend most of today inspectingtheir spacecraft for damage.

NASA is providing live coverage of Endeavour'sSTS-118 mission to the ISS. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left.

- Tariq Malik

Shuttle Endeavour FiresEngines to Raise Orbit
8 August 2007 7:19 p.m. EDT

After a near-flawlessevening launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, astronauts aboard theshuttle Endeavour have fired their spacecraft's engines to reach a higherorbit.

 

STS-118 commander Scott Kelly and pilot Charlie Hobaugh fired Endeavour's two aft-mounted OrbitalManeuvering System engines in a maneuver known as an OMS-2 burn. The engineburn, which lasted 2.5 minutes, raised and circularized Endeavour's orbit to apath that reaches 198 miles (318 kilometers) at its highest point.

 

Endeavour launched at 6:36:42 p.m. EDT (2236:42GMT) tonight and is due to dock at the International Space Station (ISS) onFriday.

 

NASA is providing live coverage of Endeavour'sSTS-118 mission to the ISS. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left.

- Tariq Malik

Endeavour AstronautsDiscard Shuttle Fuel Tank
8 August 2007 6:46 p.m. EDT

The STS-118 astronautsaboard the space shuttle Endeavour have discarded the 15-story external tankthat fed the orbiter’s nearly nine-minute launch into space.  

With that, Endeavour is nowin orbit. The upcoming tasks for the shuttle's STS-118 crew include opening theorbiter's shell-like payload bay doors.

NASA is providing live coverage of Endeavour'sSTS-118 launch and mission. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left.

- Tariq Malik

Endeavour's Engines ShutDown as Planned
8 August 2007 6:44 p.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.– The rocket engines boosting Endeavour and its external tank towardsorbit have shut down as planned about eight and a half minutes into flight.  

The milestone, known asMain Engine Cut-Off (MECO) The spacecraft is flyingtowards its intended orbit, with the next major task aimed at discarding theshuttle’s external tank. 

NASA isproviding live coverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch and mission. You areinvited to follow the mission using SPACE.com's NASATV link by clicking here or the button linkat the upper left.

- Tariq Malik

Solid Rocket BoostersSeparate
8 August 2007 6:39 p.m. EDT

The twin solid rocketboosters assisting Endeavour's launch into space have separated as planned fromthe shuttle’s external tank.  

The reusable boostersseparate just over two minutes after liftoff and fall back toward the AtlanticOcean, where they will splash down under parachutes and be retrieved byrecovery ships. They are equipped with cameras to record the performance ofEndeavour's external tank and any foam loss seen during today’s ascent.  

NASA is providing live coverage of Endeavour'sSTS-118 launch and mission. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left. 

- Tariq Malik

Shuttle Endeavour LiftsOff!
8 August 2007 6:37 p.m. EDT

The space shuttle Endeavourhas cleared the launch tower and gaining altitude after lifting off at about6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT).

Riding aboard Endeavour areSTS-118 commander Scott Kelly, pilot Charlie Hobaughand mission specialists Tracy Caldwell, Rick Mastracchio,Alvin Crew, Jr. Teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan and the Canadian SpaceAgency's Dave Williams round out the crew as mission specialists.

It should take Endeavourabout eight and one-half minutes to ferry its seven-astronaut crew into orbit.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch and mission. You areinvited to follow the mission using SPACE.com's NASATV link by clicking here or the button linkat the upper left.

- Tariq Malik

 

ShuttleEndeavour 'Go for Launch'
8 August 2007, 6:27p.m. EDT

 

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle Endeavour has been cleared for launch fromKennedy Space Center's Pad 39-A on its 20th flight, a mission to theInternational Space Station. The countdown has just picked up following theplanned T-9 minute hold as final launch preparations are rushed to completion.

 

Themission management team has been polled and all have reported ‘Go forlaunch.’ The seven STS-118 astronauts, led by veteran mission commanderScott Kelly and including teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan, are strappedinto their seats, running through their pre-launch checklists and are closelymonitoring their spacecraft systems for their ascent to orbit.

 

Endeavour'slaunch time remains set for 6:36:42 p.m. EDT (2236:42 GMT) - the launch window extends to6:43:46 p.m. EDT (2243:46 GMT).

 

Notechnical or vehicle issues are being worked at this time, with very littlechatter on the internal communication loops.

 

Weatherconditions are observed and forecast ‘Go’ on all fronts with noconstraints to launch, and conditions at all three Transatlantic Abort Landingsite remain acceptable. The Eastern Range is reporting ‘Clear forlaunch.’ The final inspection team reports only normal levels ofcondensation on the top of the external tank, with no visible ice formations.

 

Overthe next nine minutes, the Orbiter’s access arm will be retracted, thehydraulic power system (APU) started, the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tankspressurized, Endeavour’s internal flight computers will take control ofthe countdown and a booster steering test will be conducted. The three spaceshuttle main engines will ignite at T-minus 6.6 seconds and the twin solidrockets boosters will light at T-minus zero resulting in liftoff.

 

Atthe time of Endeavour's launch, the International Space Station will beorbiting southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

 

Clickhere for SPACE.com's launch preview story.

 

NASA is providing live coverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch andmission. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com'sNASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left.

 

-   Roger Guillemette

 

ShuttleEndeavour Ready for Launch
8 August 2007, 6:06p.m. EDT

 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle Endeavour is now just 30 minutesaway from liftoff on its mission to the International Space Station. Thecountdown clock is holding at the T-9 minute mark – the final planned,built-in hold remaining in the countdown.

 

Endeavour'slaunch time remains set for 6:36:42 p.m. EDT (2236:42 GMT) – the launchwindow extends to 6:43:46 p.m. EDT (2243:46 GMT).

 

The seven STS-118 astronauts, led by veteran mission commander ScottKelly and including teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan, are strapped intotheir seats, running through their pre-launch checklists and are closelymonitoring their spacecraft systems in preparation for their ascent to orbit.The close-out crew has just finished breaking down the ‘White Room’surrounding the spacecraft hatch and has departed the launch pad.

 

No technical issues are being worked at this time. Mission managers arepolling members of the launch team to ensure that all is in readiness withEndeavour and crew, now poised for launch from the Kennedy Space Center’sPad 39-A.

 

Astronaut Mark Polansky is piloting the ShuttleTraining Aircraft, flying practice approaches to the Shuttle Landing Facilityto confirm acceptable visibility conditions for a Return-to-Launch Site (RTLS)abort.

 

Weather forecasts remain very positive, with a 90 percent chance ofacceptable conditions predicted for launch time. Favorable conditions are alsoforecast for the primary and backup Transatlantic Abort Landing sites in Spainand France.

 

-   Roger Guillemette

 

ShuttleEndeavour's Hatch Closed for Launch
8 August 2007, 5:20p.m. EDT

 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle Endeavour's hatch has been closedand latched for flight, the seven STS-118 astronauts are strapped into theirseats and final preparations are progressing for this evening’s launchattempt from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A.

 

A minor problem forced technicians to reopen and then re-seal theEndeavour's hatch after some micro-switches in the hatch assembly did notinitially indicate a secure closure. Two technicians reentered the Orbiter tovisually verify that the hatch seal was secure even though the micro-switchsensors indicated otherwise.

 

Mission commander Scott Kelly, pilot Charlie Hobaughand crew have just completed the final series of air-to-ground communicationschecks to ensure that the astronauts can talk to flight controllers and eachother during the spacecraft’s ascent to orbit.

 

Endeavour'slaunch time is set for 6:36:42 p.m. EDT (2236:42 GMT), with a 5-minute launchwindow. A final adjustment may be made at the T-9 minute hold to more preciselyalign with the orbit of the International Space Station; at launch time, theISS will be orbiting southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

 

Weather forecasts remain very positive, with a 90 percent chance ofacceptable conditions predicted for launch time. Conditions are also favorableat the primary and backup Transatlantic Abort Landing sites.

 

The shuttle’s external tank is filled with a half-million gallonsof super-chilled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The vehicle is in"stable replenish" mode and its massive fuel tank will continue to betopped-off until launch time.

 

The launch team is not working any technical or vehicle issues at thistime. The Mission Management Team reviewed the discovery of a small crack inthe foam insulation on a liquid oxygen feed line bracket but determined that itdid not pose a risk for launch.

 

The two Solid Rocket Booster recovery ships have reported on-station,about 140 miles off the Florida coast and about 7-10 miles away from the actualimpact point of the spent boosters.

 

Today’s launch attempt is the 66th in shuttle history from Pad39-A. STS-118 marks Shuttle Endeavour's 20th mission, the last beingSTS-113 in November/December 2002; the Orbiter underwent an extensiverefurbishment after that mission to upgrade and modify its key systems.

 

-   Roger Guillemette

 

EndeavourAstronauts Strapped-in for Launch
8 August 2007, 4:10p.m. EDT

 

CAPE CANAVERAL,Fla. - The seven STS-118 astronauts are now securely strapped into their seatsonboard shuttle Endeavour and are beginning final preparations for thisevening's launch attempt. 

 

Led by commander Scott Kelly and pilot Charlie Hobaugh,flight engineer Rick Mastracchio, mission specialistsTracy Caldwell and Alvin Drew, teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan andCanadian astronaut Dave Williams are now engaged in a series of communicationschecks between the spacecraft, the launch team and Mission Control in Houston.

 

LaunchWeather Officer Kathy Winters has just upgraded the forecast to a 90 percentprobability of acceptable condition at launch time, stating that offshore rainshowers are no longer a concern.

 

The launchteam is not working any technical issues at this time and the countdown isproceeding smoothly toward an on-time launch.

 

Endeavour'slaunch time is set for 6:36:42 p.m. EDT (2236:42 GMT), with a 5-minute launchwindow. A final adjustment may be made at the T-9 minute hold to more preciselyalign with the orbit of the International Space Station; at launch time, theISS will be orbiting southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

 

-   Roger Guillemette

 

EndeavourAstronauts Arrive at Launch Pad
8 August 2007, 3:05p.m. EDT

 

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. - Clad in their orange launch and entry spacesuits, the sevenEndeavour astronauts have completed a 20-minute ride in their silver 'Astro Van' to Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A where theirspacecraft stands poised for launch. NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding hasgiven his permission for the astronauts to enter the spacecraft, indicatingthat all switches and systems in the cockpit are properly configured for thecrew.

 

STS-118commander Scott Kelly and pilot Charlie Hobaugh havebeen briefed on the launch weather forecast; meteorologists are stillpredicting an 80 percent probability of acceptable conditions at launchtime.   

 

The FinalInspection Team has departed the launch pad and will make their report tomission managers; however, the launch team is currently not working any vehicleor technical issues. 

 

Thecountdown has just resumed at the T-minus 3 hour mark and Endeavour's externaltank is now filled with a half-million gallons of super-chilled liquid hydrogenand liquid oxygen. The vehicle is in "stable replenish" mode and themassive fuel tank will continue to be topped-off until launch time.

 

Endeavour'slaunch time is set for 6:36:42 p.m. EDT (2236:42 GMT), with a 5-minute launchwindow.

 

-   Roger Guillemette

Astronauts Depart for Launch Pad
8 August 2007 2:48 p.m. EDT

 

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. – The STS-118 crew has left NASA's operations andcheckouts building and are leaving for Pad 39A here at Kennedy Space Center.

 

NASAhopes to rocket space shuttle Endeavour and the seven astronauts towards theInternational Space Station (ISS) at approximately 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) tonight.

 

Once Endeavour docks with the ISS two days after launch, educator-astronautBarbaraMorgan will assist her crewmates with continuing the construction of theorbital laboratory.

- DaveMosher

CrewReceiving 'Pumpkin Suit' Checks
8 August 2007 2:25 p.m. EDT

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. – The seven astronauts of STS-118 are having their orangeflight space suits pressure-tested by technicians. Once the suits check out,the crew will depart for the launch pad at approximately about 2:46 p.m. EDT(1846 GMT) here at Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

NASAhopes to rocket space shuttle Endeavour and its crew from Pad 39A atapproximately 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) tonight.

 

Shuttleinspection crews finished looking over Endeavour's external fuel tank, nowfreshly loaded with liquid oxygen and hydrogen, at 11:25 a.m. EDT (1525 GMT)this morning.

 

Ledby commander Scott Kelly, the STS-aa8 mission willcontinue of the International Space Station (ISS) with the arrival of the crewtwo days after launch. Educator-astronaut BarbaraMorgan will make her first trip into space, along with her crewmates TracyCaldwell and Alvin Drew.

 

Clickhere for SPACE.com's launch preview story.

 

NASA is providing live coverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch andmission. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com'sNASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left.

- Dave Mosher

EndeavourInspections Completed
8 August 2007 1:45 p.m. EDT

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. – Technicians at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) have justfinished up inspections of space shuttle Endeavour, pushing it a step closer tolaunch from Pad 39A at 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) tonight.

 

Theinspection team went over the shuttle's orange external fuel tank, checking forany leaks, loose foam, frost or other abnormalities that loading 500,000gallons of liquid fuel into its chambers may have caused. Fueling of the tankbegan at 8:11 a.m. EDT (1211 GMT) and finished at 11:25 a.m. EDT (1525 GMT)this morning.

 

STS-118'sseven-astronaut crew is finishing preparations to leave for the launch pad atabout 2:46 p.m. EDT (1846 GMT). Once in space, the astronauts will continueInternational Space Station (ISS) construction with addition. Along with twoother rookies on board, educator-astronaut BarbaraMorgan will take her first trip into space tonight.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's launch preview story.

 

NASA is providing live coverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch andmission. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com'sNASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left.

- Dave Mosher

LaunchCountdown Goes Well for Shuttle Endeavour
8 August 2007 1:25 p.m. EDT

With just over fivehours to go before rocketinginto space, NASA's shuttle Endeavour is performing well, the space agencysaid.

The countdown forEndeavour's planned 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) launch is currently at T-3 hoursand holding at Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral,Florida. The planned hold allows launch controllers to calibrate Endeavour'sinertial measurement unit and align tracking antennas along the Merritt IslandLaunch Area.

Launch controllers arealso expected to perform an open loop communications test with the EasternRange, over which Endeavour will launch during today's planned space shot.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's launch preview story.

NASA is providing livecoverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch and mission. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left.

- Tariq Malik

Endeavour'sAstronaut Crew to Suit Up for Launch
8 August 2007 12:57 p.m. EDT

The seven astronauts ofNASA's STS-118 crew are set to don their bright orange pressure suits for today'splanned launch of their space shuttle Endeavour.

Shuttle commander ScottKelly and pilot Charlie "Scorch" Hobaugh,meanwhile, are expected to receive a final weather briefing on launchconditions for tonight's planed 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) launch.

Current weatherforecasts call for an 80 percent chance of favorable launch conditions, NASAhas said.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's launch preview story.

NASA is providing livecoverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch and mission. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left.

- Tariq Malik

AstronautsEat Lunch, Wait to Depart Earth
8 August 2007 12:35 p.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.– Seven astronauts set to make their spaceward journey are now eatinglunch.

Technicians finishedtanking space shuttle Endeavour's liquid fuels at about 11:25 a.m. thismorning, poising the STS-118 mission to launch at approximately 6:36 p.m. EDT(2236 GMT) tonightfrom Pad 39A here at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Crews at the launch padcontinue to check for leaks and frost on the tank.

The crew will continueInternational Space Station (ISS) construction and re-supply it when they dockwith the orbital laboratory two days after launch. Along with two other rookieson board, educator-astronaut BarbaraMorgan will take her first trip into space.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's launch preview story.

NASA is providing livecoverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch and mission. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clickinghere or the button link at the upper left.

- Dave Mosher

Shuttle'sExternal Fuel Tank Now Full
8 August 2007 11:30 a.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.– Technicians have now finished tanking space shuttle Endeavour's liquidoxygen and hydrogen fuels, according to NASA TV reports. The pumping of the cryogenicfuels in the large external fuel tank began at 8:11 a.m. this morning.

Now that tanking iscomplete, Endeavour is poised for a 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) launchtonight from Pad 39A here at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Theclose out crew arrived at 11:24 a.m. to prepare the shuttle for arrival of the STS-118astronaut crew.

The crew,comprised of educator-astronaut BarbaraMorgan and six other astronauts, will continue International Space Station(ISS) construction and re-supply the orbital laboratory after docking with ittwo days after launch.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's launch preview story.

NASA is providing livecoverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch and mission. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clicking here or thebutton link at the upper left.

- Dave Mosher

Shuttle'sExternal Fuel Tank Half-Full
8 August 2007 9:55 a.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.– Fuel tanking of space shuttle Endeavour's large external tank is nowhalf-complete, said NASA spokesperson Steven Roy. Technicians began pumpingcryogenically cooled oxygen and hydrogen into the tank at 8:11 a.m. thismorning.

When the three-hourprocess finishes, Endeavour will be poised for alaunch tonight at approximately 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) from Pad 39A hereat Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

The shuttle'sseven-astronaut STS-118crew will continue construction of the International Space Station (ISS)when the dock with the orbital laboratory two days after launch.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's launch preview story.

NASA is providing livecoverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch and mission. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clicking here or thebutton link at the upper left.

- Dave Mosher

ShuttleEndeavour's Fuel Tanking Begins
8 August 2007 8:20 a.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.–Technicians began pumping cryogenic fuel into space shuttle Endeavour's externalfuel tank at 8:11 a.m. this morning, said Steven Roy, a NASA spokesperson fromthe Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, and is expected to last a littleover 3 hours.

Once tanking commences,NASA hopes to send the vehicle spaceward thisevening at approximately 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) from Pad 39A here atKennedy Space Center (KSC). Roysaid the 20 percent threat of launch delay due to bad weather remains unchanged.Once in space, the crew of the STS-118 mission will continue construction ofthe International Space Station (ISS).

Endeavour was fullyexposed to the world last night shortly after 9 p.m., following retraction ofthe launch pad's Rotating Service Structure (RSS), which houses theshuttle-rocket assembly from weather and allows technicians to inspect thespacecraft in its vertical position.

Meanwhile, the seven STS-118astronauts have woken up and are eating breakfast, said Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters,a JohnsonSpaceCenterspokesperson here at KSC. After medical checks, a weather briefing andspacesuit donning, Cloutier-Lemasters said the crewwill depart for the launch pad at 2:46 p.m. this afternoon.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's launch preview story.

NASA is providing livecoverage of Endeavour's STS-118 launch and mission. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com's NASA TV link by clicking here or thebutton link at the upper left.

- Dave Mosher

WeatherOutlook Improves Shuttle Launch Forecast
7 August 2007 8:40 a.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.– NASA's weather officer improved the Wednesday launchforecast for the space shuttle Endeavour by 10 percent, according to aweather report released this morning.

A central U.S.heat wave forecasters are calling the "ring of fire" may be causingthe improvement from a 70 percent chance of successful launch to an 80 percentchance. Heat indexes today as high as 108 degrees are expected near Oklahoma,the heat spell's epicenter, and 100 close to the launch site here at KennedySpace Center (KSC).

As the weather systempushes away the chance of thunderstorms on launch day, astronauts continuepreparing for their 6:36 p.m. (2236 GMT) expected launch tomorrow.

George Diller,NASA's KSC spokesperson, said STS-118astronauts are flying shuttle trainers and will meet their families forlunch later today. Meanwhile, Diller said technicians finishedthe delicate procedure of loading Endeavour's fuel cell this morning, whichwill provide on-board power for the spacecraft.

- Dave Mosher

NASA:Countdown Running, Crew Tying Up Loose Ends
6 August 2007 9:35 a.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.– As the shuttle mission clock counts backwards to a Wednesday launch ofEndeavour and STS-118crew, the astronauts continue with final preparations at Kennedy SpaceCenter (KSC), a NASA official said.

Nicole Cloutier,a Johnson<

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