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Monday, August 07, 2006

STS-115: Astronauts head to KSC

The Atlantis astronauts aim to head to Kennedy Space Center today to take part in a practice countdown for their planned Aug. 27 launch on an International Space Station assembly mission.

Flying in sleek white-and-blue T-38 training jets, the astronauts are scheduled to depart Ellington Air Field near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston about 2:30 p.m. EDT. Their arrival at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility is expected about 5 p.m.

Led by veteran astronaut Brent Jett, the six-member crew will take part in emergency training at launch pad 39B this week.

Also on tap: A launch-day dress rehearsal on Thursday that will involve donning partial pressure launch-and-entry suits and climbing aboard Atlantis for the last few hours of a practice countdown.

Over the weekend, engineers and technicians completed a flight readiness test of the shuttle's three liquid-fueled main engines. A helium signature leak check of the engines also was successfully completed.

NASA and its contractors today are preparing to load hypergolic propellants into hydraulic power units that enable the shuttle's twin solid rocket boosters to be steered in flight.

Hypergolic propellants also will be loaded into the shuttle orbiter's twin maneuvering engines, 44 nose-and-tail steering jets as well as the ship's three Auxiliary Power Units.

The so-called "hyper-load" will begin trhis coming weekend and continue through next Monday.

A three-day countdown to launch is scheduled to pick up Thursday, Aug. 24.

2 Comments: said...


I have recently discovered the "Flame Trench" blog site and have thoroughly enjoyed the info, especially the Shuttle stories, schedule of events, etc. As a former Shuttle employee, I can identify with what you are presently experiencing. I also want to inform your readers that I have written a book, published in May 2006, about the Shuttle Challenger accident from an insider's perspective. I believe every Space Coast resident and Shuttle employee would enjoy the book and benefit from the lessons we learned from Challenger. The book, SOME TRUST IN CHARIOTS, can be bought online from or through any book store. The publisher is Xulon Press.

James A. (Gene) Thomas
NASA-KSC Retired

9:28 AM  
Todd Halvorson said...

Hey Gene:

Nice to hear from you. I remember chatting with you several years ago when you were setting out to write the book, and I'm so happy that you saw it through to the last page and were successful getting the book published. I haven't had time to read it yet, but I know several people who have, and the reviews I'm hearing all are good. Congratulations!

4:08 PM  

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