STS-122: ATLANTIS LAUNCHES – Endeavour LON doubt

by Chris Bergin

Atlantis has successfully launched from the Kennedy Space Center – despite the fears over the weather – marking the start of the STS-122 mission.

Meanwhile, STS-122’s LON (Launch On Need) rescue orbiter is currently swapped from Endeavour to Discovery, after a HEPA filter contamination problem was found on OV-105. Evaluations have concluded that Discovery can be processed in time for any rescue requirement if needed, as the engineering debate continues.

**The most comprehensive collection of Shuttle, Ares, Orion and ISS related presentations and mission documentation, plus expansive daily processing documentation and updates are available to download on L2 **

STS-122 L2 Special NOW LIVE. **Click here for sample of L2 menu and content**

**STS-122 Special: 29 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) Presentations, Baselines and Mission Overviews. **Click here for FRR overview articles: Article 1Article 2** Payload Presentations and vast amounts of live, uploaded images and presentations, movies (several) – already 3100 megabytes strong**

**COMPLETE Section – over 1350mbs of presentations – on ECO/Feedthrough Connector issues and troubleshooting, graphical and data based – expansive.**

**LIVE updates on Atlantis STS-122 COUNTDOWN Latest**

STS-122 ECO related news content (all exclusives): *Scrub 1* – *MMT Debate* – *Scrub 2* – *Hale Memo* – *Forward Plan* – *Culprit Found* – *Tanking Test* – *Repair Options* – *MAF Plan**PRCB Debate* – *Plan Approved* – *Repair Schedule* – *Launch Date* – *New Issue* – *Hale Rallying Call* – *PRCB Launch Dates* – *New Connector Installed* – *Positive Test Results* – *Manifest Impacts* – *Optimism with forward plan* – *Flight Rationale* – *Repairs Finalizing* – *Root Cause Confirmed*

STS-122: Hose related news content (all exclusives): *Issue found/fleet to be checked (December)* – *Atlantis found to have problem* – *Managers discuss forward plan* – *Use of pole to aid retract* – *Successful Retraction*

STS-122 Countdown:

The highlight of the countdown thus far has been the successful testing of ET-125’s ECO (Engine Cut Off) sensors, following the replacement of the LH2 Feed-through connector. All four LH2 ECO sensors have performed as advertised, with good voltages.

‘Major activities during included Fuel Cell Activation, MMT (Mission Management Team) ‘GO’ for tanking, beginning of tanking, and monitoring of ECO sensors. The ECO sensors have performed nominally,’ noted MMT information on L2.

‘The STS-122 S0007 LCD is currently proceeding on schedule according to the bar chart and on track for a 14:40:24 EST (Window Open).’ 

Only one IPR (Interim Problem Report) was generated during the countdown through tanking, and was subsequently closed, as Atlantis enjoyes a very smooth countdown.
‘Secondary GN2 Accumulator Pressure is not trending with primary indication – The GOX vent arm secondary GN2 actuation pressure measurement is ‘sawtoothing’ between approximately 2500 and 2600 psi,’ noted processing information on Monday. 

‘The primary measurement is steady at nominal pressure of approximately 2100 psi. Believe this to be instrumentation failure. Alternate monitoring method exists should primary fail by monitoring of hydraulic pressures. This is a failure that has been seen before. Status: Closed.’
The biggest issue that threatens a scrub of today’s launch attempt remains to be the weather. However, the countdown will proceed to the T-9 minute hold to give Atlantis a chance of finding a gap in the clouds.
‘Weather forecast trends are still unfavorable for today through Saturday due to an approaching and subsequently stalling weather front,’ was presented to the MMT. ‘Weather Synopsis: A cold front is currently in the Northern Florida Peninsula, and showers are located ahead of the front.

‘The front will remain north of Kennedy Space Center (KSC) by launch time, but there will be cumulus clouds and showers in the area, and possibly an inland thunderstorm. Anvils from thunderstorms that form inland would migrate toward the east coast.

‘Our primary concerns for launch time are cumulus clouds, showers, and anvils. The front will slowly push through Florida the next couple of days, but there is still a chance it will be close enough to the KSC to cause weather concerns for the 24- and 48- hour launch attempts.’

In the Shuttle Training Aircraft, Steve Lindsey has noted he is ‘optimistic’ on the weather situation.

**Ride home through the fire, sparks and plasma of re-entry with Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour. FIVE Stunning high quality 2hr, 355-400mb Camcorder and HUD videos – from payload bay closure – through re-entry with an astronaut held camcorder video – to post landing – several more videos showing landing from 90,000 ft also available and HUD videos from STA landings. Includes HALO II Re-entry video, and re-entry videos from Gemini and Apollo (converted from 8mm)**

Endeavour problem:

The issue with Endeavour has seen her being stood down from her LON requirement in support of STS-122. Discovery will now be mated with ET-126 and the twin Solid Rocket Boosters inside the Vehicle Assembly Building – should it be required in the event of an emergency during STS-122.

‘OV-105 has had a problem and will not be cleared for launch as the rescue flight. We would like to assess the following. If there is an accident take the OV-105 stack and mate it to OV-103 for the rescue. We want to launch the rescue flight on April 10th,’ noted memos on Thursday.

‘We need a answer asap before STS-122 launch. Don’t worry about the Ground OPS vehicle story, focus on flight products.’

It is not known how long the problem with the air filter contamination will take to remedy, though it is possible that Endeavour and Discovery will swap roles on their primary missions, based on the LON timeline and projected launch dates for STS-123 and STS-124.

‘We pulled together an emergency meeting to sort out the flight production side of this story. We are confident that we can support the plan to fly OV-103 on the STS-123 Stack on 4/10 if necessary to rescue STS-122. That would be 63 days after STS-122’s launch date with ISS CSCS (Crew Shuttle Contingency Support) reported at 69 days,’ added another memo.

‘We are assuming that the mission would be called STS-324, Flight Software requires that for their products. That would also dictate the 324 requirements would be in place i.e. the OBSS (Orbiter Boom Sensor System) would be installed for the 324 mission and the 324 crew would fly.

We can look into changes with the OBSS installation and whether it is the 323 or 324 crew that fly’s later if necessary.

‘We also assumed that the Ground Ops, Orbiter, SRB & Logistics side of the house was integrated into the 4/10 readiness date that KSC reported. Orbiter joined in with a concern about the radiator retract assembly that was sent to Huntington Beach would not be back in time to support but they also felt they could cannibalize from one of the other vehicles.’

Endeavour was set to rollover to the VAB next week, before borescope inspections found the contamination. Engineers are still working a plan that may still allow Endeavour to remain as the LON orbiter.

More will follow on this story after further collation of information in L2…

L2 members: All documentation – from which the above article has quoted snippets – is available in full in the related L2 sections, updated live.

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