Sunday, July 12, 2009

To Infinity and Beyond continued

The mission patch for STS-127 reflects the crew's goal of placing a new piece on the International Space Station's Japanese laboratory Kibo. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Commander Mark Polansky and the STS-127 crew will install Japanese elements on the International Space Station.
Endeavour's hatch is closed by members of the closeout crew. Image above: At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Endeavour's hatch is closed by members of the closeout crew. Image credit: NASA TV

T-20 Minutes and Holding
T-20 minutes and holding. The countdown clock has paused for a 10-minute planned, built-in hold. The seven astronauts set to carry out the STS-127 mission are all aboard space shuttle Endeavour, awaiting launch at 7:13 p.m. EDT.

Endeavour's crew module hatch has been closed and locked. The launch countdown continues on schedule this afternoon at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The 16-day mission will feature five spacewalks and complete construction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. Astronauts will attach a platform to the outside of the Japanese module that will allow experiments to be exposed to space.

The STS-127 crew members are Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Dave Wolf, Christopher Cassidy, Tom Marshburn, Tim Kopra and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette. Kopra will join the space station crew and replace Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will return to Earth on Endeavour to conclude a three-month stay at the station....

A little trivia:
Personal Items Show Crew's Varied Paths

From medallions and patches to a NASCAR team hat, the varied paths of the seven astronauts of STS-127 are reflected in the commemorative items they are bringing along.

Each crew member is allowed to pack a few things into the shuttle for the trip, although there are some limits, including size and weight.

Three of the astronauts have flown before, but that didn’t diminish their desire to celebrate their latest flight into orbit.

Commander Mark Polansky flew on STS-98 and STS-116. This time up, his commemorative choices include a banner from East Central High School in San Antonio, his wife’s hometown.

Dave Wolf first flew in 1993 and also has served on the Russian space station Mir for 128 days. His hometown of Indianapolis is represented by numerous articles, including an airplane paperweight.

A piece of sheet music is making the trip into space to commemorate Julie Payette’s work with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The Canadian astronaut is an accomplished singer and pianist.

Christopher Cassidy, making his first flight into space, reflects his previous career with a host of commemoratives from the U.S. Navy’s elite SEAL teams. He’s carrying a medallion from the National Navy Underwater Demolition Team – SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Fla., plus medallions and patches representing SEAL units across the nation.

Fellow first-time flier Doug Hurley is taking a hat from the NASCAR team Joe Gibbs Racing, along with a T-shirt from his alma mater Owego Free Academy in Owego, N.Y.

Tom Marshburn is bringing a pin from Statesville, N.C., his hometown, along with a pewter coaster from the University of Virginia’s engineering department. That’s the school he graduated from.

Tim Kopra piloted helicopters in the U.S. Army before joining NASA. He is taking with him a copper medallion from his high school, McCallum High School in Austin Texas.
(For more read here.)

All material here from NASA's site.

We also have another Canadian first on this mission. Julie Payette has flown into space before AND when she arrives at the space station, it will be the first time that two Canadians have been there at the same time. Remember I told you about Robert Thirsk the other day?

This Endeavour launch has been postponed three times, due to leaks and weather. NOW, we have a GO!

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?

To infinity and beyond.

UPDATE: Apparently, today's launch has also been held off until tomorrow. From NASA:

Endeavour Launch Now Scheduled for July 13

Sun, 12 Jul 2009 04:46:24 PM PDT

Space shuttle Endeavour's STS-127 launch now is scheduled for July 13 at 6:51 p.m. EDT.

Officials at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida called off Sunday's planned liftoff due to inclement weather. Cumulus clouds and lightning violated rules for launching Endeavour because of weather near the Shuttle Landing Facility. The runway would be needed in the unlikely event that Endeavour would have to make an emergency landing back at Kennedy.

Monday's live countdown coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m on NASA Television and NASA's Launch Blog....(here)

Stay tuned!

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