STS-130, First of the Final Five Launches

After low-lying clouds scrubbed the first attempt, STS-130 took off at 4:14 am in what is scheduled to be the last night launch of a space shuttle. The Space Task Force was on hand for the historic launch of Endeavour–as we will be for each of these ‘Final Five’ launches in 2010.

STS-130 is carrying the Tranquility module (formerly known as “Node 3”) along with the special multi-window “cupola” viewport. The crew of Endeavour will spend their first two days catching up to the space station before docking to start their mission.

The orbiter is scheduled to return to Kennedy Space Center Stay late on Feb 20 after 13 days in space. Stay tuned to the Space Task Force as we continue our extended mission coverage of STS-130 from rollout to the pad to rollout on the runway.

You can also download the video here: STS-130 Launch!

Advertisements

STS-130 Scrub

This is what it looks like at 4:30am in the KSC Press Center when a launch is scrubbed.

All eyes are on the Flight Director, waiting for his call. The launch polling just ended with two “NoGo” calls due to weather. Things have been tentative and getting worse all day.
Finally, he makes the tough call and scrubs the launch attempt. Everyone is a bit disappointed, but we know it is the safest thing to do. Now the press, much like the astronauts, must clean up enough to move out for a few hours and come back tomorrow.
Unlike the astronauts, we can get in our cars and go back to hotels (or for some of us, home to our families). ┬áThe crew of STS-130 has hours of work to do shutting-down the orbiter and getting out of their launch suits before they can retire–in quarantine–to the confines of the astronaut quarters.
And yet, there is a bit of excitement in the air knowing that we get to do it all again. We’d all prefer to have a good launch the first time, but there is also a knowledge that we won’t have many more shuttle launches. Very few of the Go/NoGo pollings are left to call. We’ll cherish every one and, if needed, come back and do it all again.
Good night, everyone. See you tomorrow!