Space shuttle launch: Thursday morning 6:36am S'pore time

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starfinder
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Space shuttle launch: Thursday morning 6:36am S'pore time

Post by starfinder »

The Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-118) is due to launch at 6:36am on Thursday 9th August Singapore time. As of the time of this post, the countdown is proceeding smoothly.

Watch the launch on NASA TV! Further details here:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shutt ... index.html

Maybe CNN would broadcast the launch 'live' as well, since they sometimes do.


Has anyone on Singastro experienced the launch of a Space Shuttle or other rocket in person? Years ago, in the 1980s, before the age of the Internet or CNN, I used to listen to live coverage of Space Shuttle launches over shortwave radio on the Voice of America (6110, 9760, 15425 kHz, etc) (Airconvent is another shortwave listener I know!). I remember the commentator would say that it is not so much seeing the launch that impresses, but "feeling" it, i.e. feeling the air and ground shake, together with the deafening roar.

I can still remember watching TV reports of the very first Space Shuttle launch (Columbia) and landing in 1981 (it was very exciting), and the tragic explosion of Challenger in Jan 1986 (I still have the TV news reports of that on VHS tape).

I would really like to travel to Florida one day to watch/experience a launch. Problem is that delays are very common, Florida is so far, and leave entitlement ain't enough!

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Post by rcj »

i think this is the launch that has a teacher on board!

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/07 ... organ.html
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Post by starfinder »

Here is another incentive to get up early tomorrow morning.

There is scheduled to be an Iridium flare just at sunrise over Singapore at 7:17am (mag. -6.8). Look in the Northeast and about a third of the way up the sky.

That should be interesting to watch!

Details:

Iridium 12
Observer's Location: Queenstown Estate ( 1.2940°N, 103.8030°E)
Date: 09 Aug
Local Time:07:17:31
Intensity (Mag.): -6.8
Flare position: Alt. 33° Azimuth 36° (NE )
Flare centre:0.6 km (E)

See:
http://www.heavens-above.com/iridiumday ... 1&tz=MALST

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jennifer1611991
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Post by jennifer1611991 »

So, any pictures?!! Oh my, an iridium flare!! Exciting! :)

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Post by starfinder »

jennifer1611991 wrote:So, any pictures?!! Oh my, an iridium flare!! Exciting! :)
I did not manage to see the Iridium flare as the sky was completely covered in clouds at that time (yesterday morning 7:17am).

However, I watched the whole Space Shuttle launch process over the internet on NASA TV's website, from about 15 minutes before to 20 minutes after the time of the launch. The launch itself was also covered 'live' on CNN, whose coverage was about 5 seconds faster than NASA's internet transmission (as received here).

The Space Shuttle program is apparently due to be terminated in 2010:

"The Shuttle program is scheduled for mandatory retirement in 2010. The Shuttle's planned successor is Project Constellation with its Ares I and Ares V launch vehicles and the Orion Spacecraft. NASA hopes to launch 13 to 15 more shuttle missions before the program ceases."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_program

The end of the Space Shuttle program would be such a pity. Its planned successor (The Orion spacecraft) would be quite boring to watch, since it would be based on the 1960s-type launch and spashdown capsules.

"NASA will use Orion spacecraft for its human spaceflight missions after the last Shuttle orbiter is retired in 2010."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_%28spacecraft%29

So we had better enjoy watching the Space Shuttle flights whilst they last, only about 3 years more!

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Post by Airconvent »

starfinder wrote: The Space Shuttle program is apparently due to be terminated in 2010:
They are supposed to have the Orion space craft ready by then. That one is basically a multi-function , smaller capacity and ugly space capsule, totally unlike the sleek space shuttle :(

Seems strange to retire so early when the Endeavour just completed a complete overhaul.

But this time round, except for a teacher onboard, seems disappointing as far as ISS construction is concerned. They are only installing a spacer. With a tight schedule, you would think they will bring more stuff up to install. I can't wait for the non-utulity modules to be installed that will add REAL space to the station. So far it has been installing power systems and for this trip, a single spacer. I guess the cargo hold is stuffed with stores and spare parts but I would think this would have been more appropriate for delivery by the russian modules instead.
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Post by starfinder »

hey, i have been watching this mission in progress over the past few days on NASA TV's website:
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/

right now, i am watching two of the astronauts being suited up for a spacewalk. helmets being put on now.


As for the replacement of the Space Shuttle with the Orion spacecraft, i really think it is a step backwards, certainly at least in terms of style. i think astronauts splashing down to Earth in a capsule with parachutes deployed is quite undignified, unlike the Space Shuttle's graceful glide down to the surface. Just imagine, 30 years after the development of the Space Shuttle, NASA steps back to 1960s methods!

See this:
"An important planned feature that would have been introduced in the Orion CM was a new system employing a combination of parachutes and either retrorockets or airbags for capsule recovery. This would have allowed retrieval of the Orion CM on land, like the Russian Soyuz descent module and its derivatives, and eliminated the expensive naval recovery fleet employed on all Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo flights. However, NASA removed this feature in August 2007.[7] Water landings, previously only required in a launch abort scenario, will now become the exclusive means of recovery for the Orion CM."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_%28spacecraft%29

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Post by Airconvent »

I guess they did not want land drops because if anything fails, at least water would have a little cushion effect when they parachute down.
I can see why they opted for the orion. For one, lesser heat tiles to worry about since no wings but most importantly of all, commonality. The same capsule can be configured for moon missions, space station trips, orbital repair service and many can be built too. They all share alot of common spare parts. Now all they need to do is make sure the parachutes work! :wink:
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