Not For Nuttin Shuttle People
I'm not really awake yet as I only went to sleep about four hours ago and am about to go lie down again, but as I was up I checked on the shuttle status and saw this:
Spaceflight Now STS 121 Mission Status
1453 GMT (10:53 a.m. EDT)
The countdown is still holding at the T-minus 3 hour mark. Clocks are slated to resume ticking in 60 minutes.
The analysis and debate about the faulty heater on one of Discovery's vernier steering thrusters continues. That heater is not working, which makes the maneuvering jet considered failed for the mission. Although there are other thrusters that can compensate for the loss of the L5L jet, managers must decide if they want to launch knowing some of the redundancy is gone.
Now given that they already are launching over the objections of a bunch of safety people (see here
Now, I know, I know... this kind of thing will never be "safe" and they are only estimating a 1% chance of a catastrophic failure that would lose the orbiter and the crew. And that is considered an acceptable level of risk at this point.
But if that 1% hit, or even if there was enough damage that they need to leave the astronauts on ISS then you'll be hearing the "I told you so"s so loudly we'll all go deaf. Oh well, at least this time around the objections were clearly heard then decided upon, whereas in previous cases they either have been so discouraged that people never made the objections even though they were worried, or they were made and were squelched by middle management and never made it to the top. This time everybody clearly knows the risks that have been warned about, and are choosing to go anyway.
The Astronauts are loading into the vehicle as I type. Also as I type some scary clouds have moved into the area which will scrub the launch for today if they don't move soon. So we shall see.
My alarm is set to make sure I'll be up to watch, and NASA TV
has been up on my computer with the sound up for hours now, so it will wake me up if anything significant happens too.
Of course, I'm out west, so unlike home, I can't just step out the back door of the house and look up to see the launch. Oh well.
If they keep delaying it, I might be able to too!