Friday, October 5, 2007

NASA my skip APU hotfire test, crawler headed back...

The crawler transporter has now left launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
Still, no official news from NASA. But from what I have gathered on several forums on the Internet, Discovery is still on schedule. A tight schedule - as said yesterday, there seems to be only a few hours of contingency left.

In spite of this, NASA considers to drop the so-called APU hotfire test. APUs provide power e.g. for hydraulics during re-entry. The APU test was originally scheduled for shortly after arrival at the pad. However, it could not be carried out due to bad weather. It is now targeted for next Thursday -- if not being canceled. Canceling seems attractive to NASA, as it would probably save around one day of contingency. And the APU test is not considered absolutely vital - it is recommenced only after a major overhaul of the orbiter (which, however, seems to have happened).

As a side-note, the crawler transporter has now left the pad. Look at the picture above -- not to long ago this was where the crawler parked. Driving back seems to be a bit quick, as it usually stays until shortly before launch. Maybe this is another indication that NASA is very serious on launching as quickly as possible.

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