Spaceflight Now STS-110

NASA reveals official shuttle launch time
Posted: April 2, 2002

The crew of Atlantis pose for a picture at the launch pad on Wednesday. Photo: NASA-KSC
The U.S. space agency lifted its tattered security blanket on Wednesday and revealed the official time for Thursday's planned launch of space shuttle Atlantis: 5:12:51 p.m. EST -- just one second earlier than amateur satellite observers had predicted and posted on the internet.

NASA officials had refused to reveal the launch time until today for security reasons, but they have continued to openly release orbital data that has allowed amateur satellite observers to determine the launch time to within a few minutes and, in one case, to within one second of the actual time.

Space agency spokesman George Diller said the full 10-minute launch window opens at 5:07:52 p.m. (22:07:52 GMT) and closes at 5:17:50 p.m. (22:17:50 GMT). The preferred liftoff time is 5:12:51 p.m. EST (22:12:51 GMT). The mission is due to end with a landing at the Kenney Space Center on April 15, 2002 at 1:21 p.m. EDT (1721 GMT).

The news blackout imposed on the countdown has been partially lifted, too. But the astronauts' launch day activities -- including their traditionally broadcast pre-launch meal -- will take place largely in the dark.

The space agency does not plan say anything about the crew until after they arrive at the launch pad tomorrow afternoon. For that reason the space agency will curtail its usual countdown coverage on NASA Television. Its broadcast is not expected to start until the astronauts are ready to board the shuttle.

NASA was prepared to say that the three-hour process of loading 528,000 gallons of super-cold, explosive propellants into the shuttle's external fuel tank would begin around 8:15 a.m. EST.

The gantry-like rotating service structure is scheduled to be pulled back from around Atlantis Wednesday evening as technicians make final preparations for fueling.

Meanwhile, managers meeting this afternoon cleared the last remaining issue that was being addressed by engineers -- the Power Drive Units used on the shuttles to close the flapper doors on the belly of the orbiter after external tank jettison. NASA said the issue has been resolved and there is no concern with the hardware on Atlantis.

The launch weather officers are calling for a 60 percent chance of acceptable conditions due to showers and thunderstorms in the area.

The main goal of Atlantis' mission is to deliver the so-called S0 truss. It will form the central portion of the station's backbone, the eventual nine-piece truss supporting power and cooling systems for the expansion of the orbiting complex.

Atlantis' crew is led by commander Mike Bloomfield, with rookie pilot Stephen Frick, flight engineer Ellen Ochoa and spacewalkers Jerry Ross, Steve Smith, Lee Morin and Rex Walheim. Ross will be making a record-setting seventh space flight, the most of any astronaut in history.

Recent updates

01:30 PM
Quick-look Data

07:30 AM
Entry Timeline

12:00 AM
Master Flight Plan

Daily Flight Plan (FD-11/12)

12:50 AM
Undocking timeline

11:50 PM
NASA TV Sked (rev. I)

05:40 PM
Spacewalk Stats

Apollo 12 tribute DVD set

New! Featuring the jovial crew of Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and Alan Bean, the Apollo 12 mission was struck by lightning shortly after liftoff but proceeded on the second successful exploration voyage to the lunar surface. This three-disc DVD brings the mission to life with extraordinary detail.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Fallen Heroes special patch
This special 12-inch embroidered patch commemorates the U.S. astronauts who made the ultimate sacrifice, honoring the crews of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Women in Space
Women of Space: Cool Careers on the Final Frontier is for girls, young women, and anyone else interested in learning about exciting careers in space exploration. Includes CD-ROM.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
 Choose your store:

Apollo 11 special patch
Special collectors' patch marking the 35th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing is now available.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K.

STS-134 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!

Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.

STS-133 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!

Anniversary Shuttle Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.

Mercury anniversary

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.

ERROR: Random File Unopenable

ERROR: Random File Unopenable

The random file, as specified in the $random_file perl variable was unopenable.

The file was not found on your file system. This means that it has either not been created or the path you have specified in $trrandom_file is incorrect.



© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.