Sunday, July 12, 2009

Launch of Shuttle Endeavour Scrubbed with Less Than 10 Minutes to Go

View of Space Shuttle Endeavour from across the Banana River on the NASA Causeway. This is about 5-1/2 miles away from the launchpad. It was a sunny day with a blue sky.

Since the first 2 scrubs were all about the fueling system, I learned more about the space shuttle fueling system. We didn't leave Tampa until fueling had begun.

We arrived at the NASA Causeway about 2 hours before launch and set up camp in the shade of our bus. Florida summers are hot and the sun is fierce. We saw manatees in the water. Pelicans were diving for fish. We caught up with friends from New Jersey who returned to Florida to see the launch.

The sky was blue over the launch pad when we heard thunder behind us. There was a big dark cloud in the west. An announcement came over the PA that the thunderstorm created a No Go condition for launch. We all hoped it would blow away. The rest of the sky was clear, but if there's a thunderstorm with lightning within 20 nautical miles of the launchpad or landing strip it's No Go. They broadcast the control room roll call from Florida and Houston. We heard, "Go, Go, Go, No Go, Go, Go, Go, No Go, Go..." The No Go's were from the Weather Officers. There were a few outbursts, but for the most part the crowd quietly packed up their camps and boarded their busses to return to the Visitor Center. We received vouchers to repurchase the orange bus tickets for when the launch of STS-127 was rescheduled. Five out of seven people in our group repurchased the orange tickets.

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