Headlines > News > LIVE COVERAGE: Space Shuttle STS-124 Launch (updated 21:43 GMT)

LIVE COVERAGE: Space Shuttle STS-124 Launch (updated 21:43 GMT)

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat May 31, 2008 11:34 am
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21:43 GMT (5:43 pm EDT): The first burn of 2:44 minutes of the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) brought Discovery into a 315 x 273 km orbit.

21:15 GMT (5:15 pm EDT): The Shuttle will fire its Orbital Maneuvering System several times over the next hours to circularize the orbit and rendezvous with the International Space Station.


21:10 GMT (5:10 pm EDT): Main Engine Cut-Off or MECO. The Shuttle used all the fuel in the External Tank and shut down its three main engines. The main tank is jettisoned and photographed to check for missing foam.

21:04 GMT (5:04 pm EDT): Jettison of the solid rocket boosters. The Shuttle reached 48 kilometers altitude. Due to the heavy payload the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) is used in parallel to the main engines.

21:03 GMT (5:03 pm EDT): The Shuttle reached Max-Q, the maximum dynamic pressure in about 10 kilometers altitude. The main engines are therefore throttled back to 75%.


21:02 GMT (5:02 pm EDT): We have lift-off of Shuttle Discovery for mission STS-124 to the International Space Station.

21:01 GMT (5:01 pm EDT): One minute until launch. Power is switched to internal. The main engines will fire at T-6.6 seconds. After nominal operation is confirmed the two solid rocket boosters are ignited.

21:00 GMT (5:00 pm EDT): T-2 and counting. The crew closed their helmets.

20:59 GMT (4:59 pm EDT): The fuel tap-off arm is being retracted.

20:57 GMT (4:57 pm EDT): T-5 and counting. Auxiliary power units are started and all looks good for launch. The range safety devices are armed.

20:55 GMT (4:55 pm EDT): The orbiter access arm is being retracted.


20:53 GMT (4:53 pm EDT): T-9 and counting. The Shuttle entered the final phase before launch. The control is given to the automatic ground launch sequencer for the launch at 21:02 GMT.

20:49 GMT (4:49 pm EDT): All systems are go for launch. 4 minutes remaining in the hold. The weather is good for launch.

20:08 GMT (4:08 pm EDT): T-9 and holding. We reached the final hold. This hold gives the Launch Director the chance to get the go/no-go decisions of the launch team and to target the launch for the available launch window. The launch pad closeout crew is leaving the pad.

19:57 GMT (3:57 pm EDT): T-20 and counting. The Shuttle’s computers are switched to flight configuration. The cabin is being pressurized.

19:47 GMT (3:47 pm EDT): T-20 and holding. This build-in hold enables the Shuttle Test Director for final briefings. The final preflight data is submitted to the crew and the Shuttle’s main computers.

19:37 GMT (3:37 pm EDT): Leak checks have been successfully performed and the pad closeout crew prepares to leave the white room.

19:06 GMT (3:06 pm EDT): Discovery’s access hatch is now closed.


18:51 GMT (2:51 pm EDT): While the crew is doing various tasks like comm checks, the launch pad closeout crew now leaves the Shuttle and prepares for hatch closure.

18:26 GMT (2:26 pm EDT): The crew is now seated in the Shuttle.


17:31 GMT (1:31 pm EDT): The crew of the Discovery arrived at the launch pad and prepares to enter the Shuttle.


17:08 GMT (1:08 pm EDT): The clock is counting at T-3 hours. The crew is dressed and will drive to the launch pad shortly. The weather currently looks good for launch.

16:01 GMT (12:01 pm EDT): T-3 hours and holding. The countdown is currently in a built-in hold so that any tasks can be done that fell behind schedule. At the moment there are no technical issues against launch. The countdown will be resumed in a bit over an hour.


11:38 GMT (7:38 am EDT): The External Tank is being fueled with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The tank supplies the Shuttle’s three main engines during its ascent.

11:00 GMT (7:00 am EDT): The fuel cells of the Shuttle are activated and all not necessary people will leave the launch pad area.

May 31, 2008

May 30, 2008:
The Space Shuttle Discovery stands ready for launch tomorrow on Pad 39A. The launch is planned for May 31, 21:02 GMT (5:02 pm EDT).

Space shuttle Discovery’s upcoming STS-124 mission is the second of three flights that will launch components to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory. The shuttle crew will install Kibo’s large Japanese Pressurized Module, or JPM, and its remote manipulator system, or RMS. The RMS consists of two robotic arms that support operations outside of Kibo. The lab’s logistics module, or JLM, which was installed in a temporary location during STS-123 in March, will be attached to the new lab.

Discovery’s 14-day flight carries the largest payload to the station and will include three spacewalks. The shuttle also will deliver a new crew member and bring back another one after a three-month mission.

The flight is commanded by Navy Cmdr. Mark Kelly with Navy Cmdr. Ken Ham serving as Pilot. The crew also includes Mission Specialists Karen Nyberg, Air Force Col. Ron Garan, Air Force Reserve Col. Mike Fossum, Greg Chamitoff, and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide. Chamitoff will replace current station crew member Garrett Reisman, who has lived on the outpost since STS-123.

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