NASA clear Endeavour for August 7 launch

by Chris Bergin

NASA managers have concluded their Flight Readiness Review (FRR) by approving the August 7 launch date for shuttle Endeavour on STS-118.

The meeting deferred a couple of items to the L-10 Day Bench Review – primarily Launch On Need (LON) ability – with another review at the L-2 Day MMT (Mission Management Team) meeting, ahead of the opening of the launch window.

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Special STS-118 L2 Section now live, with all the MOD Flight Readiness Review presentations (x16), a newly updated Flight Plan and handbooks, along with a large amount of mission documentation. STS-120 documentation build-up already begun.

**LIVE news updates on Endeavour STS-118 PAD FLOW** (Including links to all NASA Video – press conferences and mission milestones – for free).

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In a surreal post-FRR press briefing – mainly due to revelations that will be the likely source of mass media headlines in the lead up to launch – the confirmation that Endeavour had been giving a go for launch was overshadowed by the subsequent questions from the media.

However, with a week and a half before launch, Endeavour’s first flight in near five years is scheduled to launch on time – in a window that opens on August 7 – with a seven strong crew commanded by Scott Kelly.

A few issues were deferred to later milestone meetings, as is usual pre-launch, most notably with the rescue requirement of LON, via Discovery.

Her tank, ET-120, may still require some work to a couple of LO2 liquid level sensors, with the work schedule required to be inside of CSCS (Crew Shuttle Contingency Support) timelines.

**UPDATED: Ride home through the fire, sparks and plasma of re-entry with Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour. FOUR Stunning high quality 2hr, 355-400mb Camcorder and HUD videos – from payload bay closure to post landing – several more videos showing landing from 90,000 ft also available**

Determining CSCS/LON timelines, based on the level of Discovery’s processing and hardware – with the tank currently in the latter stages of its journey from the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) – was pre-empted in pre-FRR information.

That information noted that even if Discovery fails to reach processing milestones in time, NASA do have a back-up plan via the Russian Soyuz.

‘Having L-10 Bench Review Friday. (Evaluations) to see how much time can squeeze out of standard CSCS, considering use of Soyuz for crew return, that the oxygen generation system (OGS) is functional and other non-standard assumptions.’

All other items at the FRR appear to have received clearance for flight, with the following milestone meetings to clear up any outstanding issues.

Meanwhile, on the pad, Endeavour and the STS-118 stack have completed hypergolic fuel loading, with the final element – the fueling of the APU (Auxiliary Power Units), completed this morning.

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