STS-130: Agency FRR approves February 7 launch date for Endeavour

by Chris Gebhardt and Chris Bergin

The Agency Flight Readiness Review (FRR) has concluded with the approval for Endeavour to take an opening launch attempt on February 7. As part of the standard readiness review procedure, the Agency reviewed all contingency mission timelines for the flight, including the possibility of a Minimum Duration Flight (MDF) and the incorporation of the +1 day into the mission timeline.

STS-130 Processing Latest:

All is proceeding to plan out at Pad 39A, with the completion of final ordnance installation and scheduled closeouts. No Interim Problem Reports (IPRs) are being worked.

“Orbiter: OV-105 / ET-134 / SRB BI-141 / RSRM 109 (Pad-A): The team continues to work toward the targeted launch date of February 7th. Launch countdown preparations continue,” noted processing information on L2. “EMU (EVA Mobilty Unit) functional is complete and with good results. They have been stowed for flight and airlock closeouts are complete.

“S5009 final ordnance installation was completed last night on 3rd shift. Orbiter aft closeout is in progress and will continue into next week. STS-130 Cryo Sim is scheduled for today (Wednesday.”

The only real issue that threatened the launch date over recent weeks was the failure of NH3 (Ammonia) lines that will ride on Endeavour’s middeck, ahead of being installed into Node 3 for cooling purposes. However, thanks to fine work via several centers, the “Franken” hoses – made from several smaller lines, welded together – and the backup “beefed-up” lines, are both on a schedule to support the launch date.

“The ISS team is making great progress on the ammonia hoses. Two different designs are being assembled/manufactured in parallel. The prime hoses (Titeflex hoses) have been welded and the inspections should be complete on 1/22 and crew fit checked on 1/23,” noted MOD’s 8th Floor (L2).

“The backup hoses (FMH) have been successfully proof tested and delivered to MSFC (Marshall Space Flight Center). No technical or schedule issues are anticipated.”

Setting up the mission timeline:

At the Agency FRR, only a few special topics were discussed, mainly surrounding the timeline of the mission contents, as outlined by MOD, SSP and Agency FRR presentations (all 50+ presentations available on L2).

Under nominal mission conditions NASA will undertake the opening launch attempt for STS-130 on Sunday, February 7 at 0439 EST.

STS-130 Specific Articles:

A4For a February 7th launch, Endeavour’s 10-minute launch window is currently set to open at 04:34:41 EST and close at 04:44:41 EST – with an in-plane attempt at 04:39:41 EST. The exact second at which the launch window will open and close is subject to change as further refinements are made to the calculations of the International Space Station’s trajectory and altitude ahead of launch.

As always, a finalized T-0 time will be determined during the T-9 minute hold on the morning of February 7.

Additional in-plane launch times for the first week of Endeavour’s window are: February 8 at 04:13:59 EST; February 9 at 03:51:28 EST; February 10 at 03:25:46 EST; February 11 at 03:03:15 EST; February 12 at 02:37:32 EST; February 13 at 02:15:01 EST; and February 14 at 01:49:19 EST.

For Flight Day 1 (FD-1), Endeavour’s crew will perform the standard FD-1 post-insertion activities, such as the power up and checkout of the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS), and the NC-1 course correction burn, and the downlinks of the External Tank Umbilical Well photographs of the External Tank, hand-held ET video, and Wing Leading Edge Sensor system data from ascent.

FD-2 will see the six-member crew perform the now-customary inspections of the Endeavour’s Thermal Protection System (TPS), the NC-2 and NC-3 course correction burns, checkout of their Extravehicular Mobility Units (Spacesuits), installation of the Centerline Camera that Commander George Zamka will use during docking operations the follow day, Docking Ring extension, and Rendezvous tool checkout.

FD-3 will be dominated with docking operations. Based on a Feb. 7 launch at 04:39 EST, Endeavour’s docking to the ISS will occur at ~01:23 EST Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Following docking, the crew will transfer the GLACIER-MELFI samples to the ISS and Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick will begin initial preparations for EVA-1.

FD-4 will be spent making preparations for EVA-1, installing the Distillation Assembly to the ISS, conducting transfers from Endeavour’s middeck to the ISS, and taking some time off in the afternoon.

A2That night, Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick will conduct an EVA campout in the ISS’ Quest Airlock, conditioning their bodies for the spacewalk the following day.

FD-5 will be dominated by the first of three Spacewalks (EVAs) for the mission. The 6-hour 30-minute spacewalk will be dedicated to the initial installation of Node-3 (Tranquillity) to Node-1 (Unity), removal of OTP (Orbital replacement unit Tool Platform), and hookups of the LTA and Avionics cables.

Middeck transfers from Endeavour will also continue on FD-5 and gross and fine leak checks will also be performed on Node-3 following its attachment to Node-1.

FD-6 will contain time for a Focused Inspection of Endeavour’s TPS should that be required, Node-3 Vestibule Outfitting, Cupola relocation preparations, and EVA-2 preparations.

If the Focused Inspection of the Endeavour’s TPS is not required, the 3-hrs allotted for the procedure will be used to get ahead of the standard mission timeline. In all 20-hrs of Node-3 vestibule outfitting will be required during the mission.

Once again, Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick will spend the night in the ISS Quest Airlock.

FD-7 will see the second of three mission EVAs. The 6-hr 30-min spacewalk will see Behnken and Patrick install the NH3 Jumper lines and Multi-Layer Insulation blankets. The Loop A integration procedure will also be carried out.

Inside the ISS, the Integrated Stowage Platform transfers, IMV installation, H2O Bus Fill, and Avionics Rack outfitting will be carried out.

Following the completion of EVA activities, Cupola will be depressurized and grappled with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) ahead of its relocation the following day.

FD-8 will see the relocation and outfitting of Cupola, GLACIER-MELFI sample transfers, and grappling of PMA-3 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 3).

On FD-9, PMA-3 will be relocated from Node-2 Zenith to the Node-3 axial port, Cupola outfitting will continue, supply transfers to and from Endeavour and ISS will continue, EVA-3 preparations will take place, and the crew will enjoy some much-deserved off-duty time.

Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick will once again spend the night in the ISS’ Quest Airlock in preparation for EVA-3.

A3FD-10 will be spent conducting the missions third and final EVA. During this 6-hr 30-minute EVA, Behnken and Patrick will reconnect PMA-3 heating cables, remove the Multi-Layer Insulation blankets from Cupola’s windows, conduct Loop B integration, and perform any get-ahead tasks possible. Inside the ISS, Cupola outfitting will continue.

FD-11 will consist of final middeck transfers, the return of the EMUs to Endeavour from the ISS Quest Airlock, and the closure of hatches between Endeavour and the ISS.

Endeavour will undock from the ISS on FD-12 at 20:47 EST on February 17 with Pilot Terry Virts conducting the customary fly-around of the ISS. Later that day, the crew will perform the late-inspection of the Endeavour’s TPS before powering down the SRMS.

FD-13 will be spent preparing Endeavour for reentry and landing operations. These activities will include the checkout of the Flight Control System, the hot fire test of the Reaction Control System jets, communications checkouts, the deactivation of the Wing Leading Edge Sensor system, and stowage of the Ku-Band antenna.

FD-14 will mark the final day of Endeavour’s mission. The first Deorbit opportunity for Endeavour’s crew will come on Orbit 202 of the mission at 22:14 EST on Friday, February 19.

This will set up a landing time at the Kennedy Space Center of 23:17 EST on February 19 at a Mission Elapsed Time of 12-days 18-hours and 38-minutes.

Minimum Duration Flight and the +1 Mission Day:

As with all Space Shuttle flights, the possibility exists that a problem with one of the vehicle’s numerous systems could force the execution of a Minimum Duration Flight (MDF) for STS-130/20A.

In the event of a MDF, the mission’s timeline would be severely reduced, from 14-days to eight, and only the Category I mission objectives accomplished – with all other objectives (the Cat II, III, and IV objectives) deferred to either the 20A stage or a latter Shuttle mission.

In such a case, FDs 1 and 2 would be carried out per the nominal mission timeline. FD-3 would involve docking operations and EVA-1 campout operations with EVA-1 moving up to FD-4.

During the EVA to install Node-3, the only EVA outfitting of the Node will be the attachment of the LTA cables. All other outfitting and relocation operations would be delayed to the 20A stage – the portion of time on the ISS between STS-130’s undocking and STS-131’s launch.

FD-4 would also see the transfer of all mandatory and critical items from/to Endeavour.

FD-5 would consist of the Focused Inspection (if required), off duty time for the crew, and the closure of hatches between Endeavour and the ISS.

FDs 6 and 7 would be carbon-copies of FDs 12 and 13 from the nominal mission timeline. Endeavour and her crew would then land back at the Kennedy Space Center on FD-8.

In addition to the consideration of a possible MDF, the possibility also exists that the mission could be extended by use of the +1 mission day.

According to the Flight Director FRR presentation – available for download on L2 – the following consideration will be given toward the inclusion of the +1 docked day: a launch delay resulting in a FD-4 docking (in which case the +1 day would be inserted after FD-2 and the nominal mission conducting) and if the Focused Inspection requires more then the allotted 3-hrs.

Further consideration will be given to the incorporation of the +1 day to “add Contingency EVA Day if required to complete Cat 1 Objectives. EVA 1 requires full 6:30 to achieve Cat 1 objectives (i.e., EVA delays such as those caused by break in campout could drive use of +1),” notes the Agenda 2 presentation.

Additionally, the +1 day could be used to ensure the completion of all IVA (Intra-Vehicular Activity) Cat II objectives.

Notably, MOD’s 8th Floor noted the push for an extra day during this week’s summary meeting – although this remains an unconfirmed addition to the mission at present.

“Deletion of Regen ECLSS rack relocation freed up ~23 hours. Unfortunately a lot of the tasks be put in this new white space doesn’t help the stage and the stage has to absorb 23 hours for Regen ECLSS (Environmental Control and Life Support System) rack relocation. Increment team is assessing what will get bumped off the stage to accommodate the rack relocations,” noted the memo.

“ISSP (International Space Station Program) has approved continuing to work on plan to use +1 day for rack relocation if get near the 70 percent on RFTA (Recycle Filter Tank Assembly). MOD will have a timeline ready to drop in for the +1.”

The review pace will continue to be high during February, with the STS-131 departmental FRRs set to take place ahead of Endeavour’s launch.

L2 members: Documentation – from which the above article has quoted snippets – is available in full in the related L2 sections, now over 4000 gbs in size

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