Status Report

Space Shuttle Processing Status 26 Feb 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
February 26, 2002
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MISSION: STS-109 – HST Servicing Mission 3B

VEHICLE: Columbia/OV-102

TARGET KSC LAUNCH DATE: Feb. 28, 2002 at 6:48 a.m.

TARGET KSC LANDING DATE: March 11, 2002 at 5:01 a.m.


CREW: Altman, Carey, Grunsfeld, Currie, Newman, Linnehan, Massimino

ORBITAL INSERTION ALTITUDE and INCLINATION: 308 nautical miles/28.5 degrees

Shuttle Processing Note: The Shuttle Columbia countdown ran a few hours late this morning due to requirements to perform additional inspections before closing the payload bay doors and changing out a faulty ground support equipment regulator before initiating fuel cell propellant load. Fuel cell servicing is scheduled to begin at about noon and will continue as the countdown enters a four-hour built-in-hold at the T-27 hour mark at 2 p.m. The Space Shuttle Mission Management Team meets at 2 p.m. to assess final status for the planned liftoff of STS-109 on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The seven STS-109 crewmembers, working their own circadian time cycle, were awakened at 9 p.m. Monday night and spent their “day” undergoing medical checks and performing final mission preparations. Commander Scott Altman and Pilot Duane Carey made a 1-¸ hour flight in the Shuttle Training Aircraft before returning to the crew quarters at 7 a.m. The crew had dinner at 9:45 a.m. and were scheduled to start their sleep period at 1 p.m.

The latest forecast for Thursday has a 40 percent probability of weather prohibiting launch, with scattered clouds at 3,000 feet, a temperature of 39 degrees F and surface winds from the northwest at 7 to 10 knots. The forecast for the Solid Rocket Booster recovery area calls for a sea state of eight to 10 feet, northwest winds 18-22 knots and an ocean temperature of 72 degrees F.

Launch-1 Day (Wednesday, Feb. 27)

Enter planned hold at T-11 hours for 12 hours, 58 minutes (2 a.m.)

* Begin star tracker functional checks (3 a.m.)
* Activate orbiter’s inertial measurement units
* Activate the orbiter’s communications systems
* Install film in numerous cameras on the launch pad (4:50 a.m.)
* Flight crew equipment late stow (7:20 a.m.)
* Move Rotating Service Structure (RSS) to the park position (11 a.m.)
* Perform ascent switch list
* Fuel cell flow-through purge complete
* Resume countdown at T-11 hours (2:58 p.m.)
* Activate the orbiter’s fuel cells (4:08 p.m.)
* Clear the blast danger area of all non-essential personnel
* Switch Columbia’s purge air to gaseous nitrogen (4:43 p.m.)
* Enter planned 2-hour built-in hold at the T-6 hour mark (7:58 p.m.)
* Launch team verifies no violations of launch commit criteria prior to cryogenic loading of the external tank
* Clear pad of all personnel
* Resume countdown (9:58 p.m.)
* Chilldown of propellant transfer lines (9:28 p.m.)
* Begin loading the external tank with about 500,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants (about 9:58 p.m.)
* Launch Day (Thursday, Feb. 28)
* Complete filling the external tank with its flight load of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants (about 12:58 a.m.)
* Final Inspection Team proceed to launch pad
* Enter planned 2-hour built-in hold at T-3 hours (12:58 a.m.)
* Perform inertial measurement unit preflight calibration
* Align Merritt Island Launch Area (MILA) tracking antennas
* Perform open loop test with Eastern Range
* Resume countdown at T-3 hours (2:58 a.m.)
* Crew departs Operations and Checkout Building for the pad (3:04 a.m.)
* Complete close-out preparations in the white room
* Check cockpit switch configurations
* Flight crew begins entry into the orbiter (about 3:34 a.m.)
* Astronauts perform air-to-ground voice checks with Launch and Mission Control
* Close Columbia’s crew hatch (about 4:48 a.m.)
* Begin Eastern Range final network open loop command checks
* Perform hatch seal and cabin leak checks
* Complete white room close-out
* Close-out crew moves to fallback area
* Primary ascent guidance data is transferred to the backup flight system
* Enter planned 10-minute hold at T-20 minutes (5:38 a.m.)
* NASA Test Director conducts final launch team briefings
* Complete inertial measurement unit preflight alignments
* Resume countdown at T-20 minutes (5:48 a.m.)
* Transition the orbiter’s onboard computers to launch configuration
* Start fuel cell thermal conditioning
* Close orbiter cabin vent valves
* Transition backup flight system to launch configuration
* Enter estimated 40-minute hold at T-9 minutes (5:59 a.m.)
* Launch Director, Mission Management Team and NASA Test Director conduct final polls for go/no go to launch
* Resume countdown at T-9 minutes (about 6:39 a.m.)
* Start automatic ground launch sequencer (T-9:00 minutes)
* Retract orbiter crew access arm (T-7:30)
* Start mission recorders (T-6:15)
* Start Auxiliary Power Units (T-5:00)
* Arm SRB and ET range safety safe and arm devices (T-5:00)
* Start liquid oxygen drainback (T-4:55)
* Start orbiter aerosurface profile test (T-3:55)
* Start main engine gimbal profile test (T-3:30)
* Pressurize liquid oxygen tank (T-2:55)
* Begin retraction of the gaseous oxygen vent arm (T-2:55)
* Fuel cells to internal reactants (T-2:35)
* Pressurize liquid hydrogen tank (T-1:57)
* Deactivate SRB joint heaters (T-1:00)
* Orbiter transfers from ground to internal power (T-0:50 seconds)
* Ground Launch Sequencer go for auto sequence start (T-0:31 seconds)
* SRB gimbal profile (T-0:21 seconds)
* Ignition of three Space Shuttle main engines (T-6.6 seconds)
* SRB ignition and liftoff (T-0)

Commander (CDR): Scott D. Altman
Pilot (PLT): Duane G. Carey
Payload Commander (MS1): John M. Grunsfeld
Mission Specialist (MS2): Nancy Jane Currie
Mission Specialist (MS3): Richard M. Linnehan
Mission Specialist (MS4): James H. Newman
Mission Specialist (MS5): Michael J. Massimino


Wednesday, Feb. 27
9 p.m. Crew wake up
10:15 p.m. Breakfast

Thursday, Feb. 28
*1:00 a.m. Snack and photo opportunity
2:24 a.m. Weather Briefing (CDR, PLT, MS2)
*2:24 a.m. Don flight suits (MS1, MS3, MS4, MS5)
*2:34 a.m. Don flight suits (CDR, PLT, MS2)
*3:04 a.m. Depart for launch pad
*3:34 a.m. Arrive at white room and begin ingress
*4:48 a.m. Close crew hatch
*6:48 a.m. Launch

* Televised events (times may vary slightly)
All times Eastern

SpaceRef staff editor.