Thursday, November 4, 2010

Last Discovery Launch Called On Account of Rain

"Stormy Weather Delays Space Shuttle Discovery's Launch At Least 24 Hours"
Denise Chow, (November 4, 2010)

"Stormy weather forced NASA to delay the launch of the space shuttle Discovery for at least one more day, the latest in a string of setbacks for what will be the spacecraft's final mission.

"Discovery was slated to blast off from a seaside pad here at the Kennedy Space Center at 3:29 p.m. EDT (1929 GMT), but persistent rain in the area, and a gloomy outlook that called for an 80 percent chance of stormy weather, convinced NASA officials to stand down for the day.

" 'If it looked like there was any possible chance of giving it a shot, then I think we would have chosen to proceed with tanking,' said Pete Nickolenko, NASA's assistant shuttle launch director. 'But, it was really very clear today that it wasn't looking to be our day weather-wise.'..."

The shuttle apparently could take off in the rain: but would have trouble landing back at the Cape, if the crew had to fly back early from part-way to orbit. 'Better safe than sorry' seems to be the operating philosophy here. Which, under the circumstances, seems to make sense.

The Lemming hopes to see the last Discovery launch, whenever that happens.

And, I'm looking forward to things like the opening of Bigelow Aerospace orbital rental properties, the first tourist flights out of Spaceport America, and the next step toward working hypersonic transports.

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