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LAUNCH COVERAGE ,NASA's Launch Blog - Mission STS-116


NASA's Launch Blog - Mission STS-116

NASA's launch blog was activated on December 7, 2006 at 3:25 p.m. EST

*+ View All Launch Day Videos 

8:36 p.m. - With Discovery's crew safely strapped in and the vehicle 
poised for flight, the Closeout Crew is leaving the launch pad. 
Meanwhile, Discovery's onboard computer systems are being configured for 
the proper guidance parameters for tonight's launch time.

8:34 p.m. - The Closeout Crew has been given permission to leave the 
White Room, so they'll take the elevator down to the pad surface, then 
lock it into place at the ground level before making their way off the pad.

8:29 p.m. - The countdown has resumed. T-20 minutes and counting. The 
clock will hold once more at T-9 minutes. From now until the T-31 second 
mark, any of the launch supporters or operators can ask for a hold in 
the count.

8:27 p.m. - Weather has gone "green" in all areas -- meaning weather is 
favorable for a launch tonight. Clouds appear to be high enough and 
thinning out enough that they won't violate the ceiling rule.

8:24 p.m. - NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding 
is conducting his T-20 briefing, advising the team of any instructions 
they need to know for the remainder of the countdown.

8:19 p.m. - T-20 minutes and holding. This is a 10-minute built-in hold. 
The principal payload managers have been polled, and all are ready to 
support launch tonight. The landing director will check on the landing 
site and the SRB recovery ships will be checked to make sure they are on 
site and ready to support launch as well.

8:17 p.m. - Commander Mike Polansky is pressurizing the gaseous nitrogen 
system for the Orbital Maneuvering System engines, while Pilot Bill 
Oefelein is activating the gaseous nitrogen supply for the Auxilliary 
Power Units.

8:06 p.m. - Our launch time for this evening has been recalculated, and 
the preferred launch time for this evening is 9:35:48 p.m. This time 
will be fine-tuned once again during the T-9 minute hold.

The weather at the transatlantic abort sites 
is still being evaluated. At least one site must be available in order 
to launch.

8:03 p.m. - At T-26 minutes, 32 seconds and counting, the Eastern Range 
has completed its closed loop test, which is the path of the destruct 
signal that could be required in the event of an emergency. All systems 
look good tonight, with no problems being reported

7:48 p.m. - At T-51 minutes and counting, the orbiter's hatch has been 
closed and latched for flight.

7:36 p.m. - Once Discovery's hatch is closed, the crew will begin checks 
to make sure the hatch is closed tightly.

After some discussion, the engineering team determined that the small 
piece of ice or frost discovered at the top of the external tank is not 
a danger.

"The configuration of that little, teeny piece of ice is not going to 
prohibit our launch tonight," said NASA Commentator Bruce Buckingham 

7:30 p.m. - Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters just briefed Launch 
Director Mike Leinbach 
<http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/biographies/leinbach.html> on 
the weather situation. The ceiling is in the "red" for launch, but 
that's the only weather violation at the moment.

*Did You Know?*
On Flight Day 12, two microsatellites will be launched from Discovery's 
cargo bay. They'll measure the density and composition of the atmosphere 
in low Earth orbit.

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