back to article Endeavour en route to ISS

Endeavour is en route to the ISS following a 'brilliant nighttime liftoff' from the Kennedy Space Center. Endeavour lifts off. Pic: NASA The shuttle finally got off the the ground at 09:14 GMT after a scrubbed launch yesterday. The 13-day STS-130 mission will deliver the US's Tranquility node and seven-windowed cupola to the …

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Unhappy

Last night launch :-(

How doth the hero strong and brave, A celestial path in the heavens pave

Go Dad, go...

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Headmaster

Mind your language NASA!

The NASA summary includes the intruiging information that the cupula "will weigh about 4,145 pounds in orbit"

Can anyone suggest how this will be achieved?

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Silver badge

no problems

Easy -- once you've found somewhere to put the bathrom scales

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Not completely incorrect.

Firstly, NASA press releases are written for the press, and therefore the public, who are probably capable of telling the difference between a "pound force" (commonly used American unit of force) and "pound mass" by the context without becoming pedantic about semantics. As the quote says "weigh", we are clearly talking about force, not mass.

Also, "weightlessness", or "zero-gravity" are complete misnomers, gravity is still pulling on you quite hard (at the orbit of the ISS, it's about 90% of what we're used to on the ground). The difference is that in orbit you're in free fall towards the earth, as is the spacecraft you're traveling in, so you think you're weightless because there's nothing pushing you back (as the ground does when you're on Earth). Incidentally, free falling is fine, because you're traveling so fast sideways that you effectively keep "missing" the ground.

The only problem with the statement is that NASA seem to have calibrated their base unit of force at ISS orbit, rather than on the ground, so an 1 pound/force in ISS units is 90% of 1 pound force at the earth's surface, which, admittedly is confusing.

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Gold badge

Re: no problems

Also easy. You put the scales on the 1 Earth mass object that you've thoughtfully placed stationary relative to the cupola you're weighing.

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Missing the ground...

"Incidentally, free falling is fine, because you're traveling so fast sideways that you effectively keep "missing" the ground."

Am I the only one getting all misty eyed about the Hitchhikers series at this point? I still love the idea of jumping off something and missing the ground...

Not about to try it though :)

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WTF?

Wires

What are the two wires coming off each side of the shuttle?

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Boffin

Wires

Guy Wires to the top of the lightening mast which is on top of the Launch tower, which is obscured from view by the shuttle.

The white cylinder in this picture:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Stspad39baerial.jpg

Just happens that the Launch tower is in alignment with the shuttle in this launch picture, but it is twice the height of the retracted Rotating Service Structure that is visible.

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Counting?

An obvious question, why is the last launch STS133, but STS134 before it?

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Gold badge
Boffin

Nasa can't count ?

The reason is because mission STS133 was supposed to be the last one, and was well in the planning stage, when STS134 was added in. It was probably too much trouble and asking for a lot more to renumber the STS133 mission, so the new mission was numbered STS134, even though it leaves first.

It is good that STS134 will launch, because it is taking the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer with it which will allow us to look for exotic particles (anti-matter and the like) which we can't look for down here because they wouldn't survive the trip through the atmosphere.

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Sad

I remember the first Shuttle flights when I was a kid, and now I'm going to see the last one too.

@Ed 13 - mission numbers do not indicate launch order - they probably delayed 133 for some reason.

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Anonymous Coward

err so whats next

I thought they have had issues with the replacements? so im guessing the folk on the ISS are relying on the Russians to keep them alive.?

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ISS Supply

Well us Europeans can put 20tonnes up using the ATV, and Japan also has the HTV for resupply. The Russians will carry on the Progress supply shipments, but for a while the Russian Soyez is the only way to get crew up and back.

NASA is paying a few companies loads of money to launch cargo for them to the ISS, but they are a little way off. There are also theories to man-rate some of their rockets to get crew up and back too.

There are thoughts about man-rating the ATV as well, but these things take time, so we all just have to watch the Russians doing it.

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Having been out at the Cape for the launch...

None of the pictures I have seen have done it any justice to how amazing it actually is.

The previous nights atempt had been cancelled due to what they called "Dynamic Weather" by the range officer.

I spent the evening out at KSC on the Causeway waiting for the launch with the cameras ready to get something. As we left the hotel for KSC the sky was clear all the way up but by the time we arrived the clouds were back and looking like they would try and scrub a second launch atempt. The SRB's light up and kick off a great cloud of smoke followed by what looks like the largest explosion in the world as the sky goes from black to white. The shuttle appears from behind the could slowly and rapidly moves way with what looks like flame throwers behind it. The sound hits about thirty seconds later.

ps. would like to apply for elReg's man on the scene for the last four launches.

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