Countdown to a Historic Launch (Updated)

NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez. Image courtesy of NASA

NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez. Image courtesy of NASA

A first for a Mexican-American. Godspeed, Amigo!

From NASA’s press release:

The countdown for the launch of space shuttle Discovery’s STS-128 mission officially is under way. The count began on time at 11 p.m. EDT at the T-43 hour-mark.

Launch teams are not working any issues that would prevent Discovery’s scheduled launch Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 1:36 a.m. on its 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

Discovery’s seven astronauts have additional mission study time in their overnight schedule before they head into their sleep period at 7 a.m. Saturday. The crew is scheduled to wake up at 3 p.m.

Tune in for the next countdown status briefing on NASA TV on Saturday at 10 a.m.

You may follow Astronaut Jose Hernandez on Twitter. He is posting both in English and Spanish.

Here’s his latest:

The countdown to our launch is officially starting. Launch date is Tuesday, August 25th at 1:36:05 a.m. EDT

about 2 hours ago from web

Oficialmente ya empieza la cuenta regresiva! Nos lanzamos el martes, agosto 25 a la 1:36:05 de la manana tiempo este (EDT)!

about 2 hours ago from web

Pretty exciting stuff!

Discovery Crew (Image Courtesy of NASA)

Discovery Crew. Image Courtesy of NASA.

UPDATE:

From NASA’s countdown briefing:

Countdown to Launch Continues Smoothly
Sat, 22 Aug 2009 09:43:26 -0500

Discovery’s launch remains on track for 1:36 a.m. EDT Tuesday for its 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

At today’s Countdown Status Briefing held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA Test Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson was pleased to report that all countdown preparations are on schedule and looking forward to a great launch.

“In this business there are few sites as beautiful as a nighttime launch,” said Blackwell-Thompson. “And I expect this to be a spectacular site as Discovery roars to life early Tuesday morning and lights up the night sky.”

STS-128 Payload Manager Joe Delai applauded the immense amount of work done by a great team to prepare the payload for delivery by Discovery and its crew.

“We’re very excited about this mission,” said Delai. “We’re going to support a six crew capability both from a cargo and storage point of view — we’ll also be bringing up some good science racks so we can keep doing some good work up in space and for us folks here on Earth.”

Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters reported that the forecast for launch time is holding at a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff and fueling. There only a slight concern of possible storms moving into the area before tanking begins.

Keeping to an early-morning launch schedule, Discovery’s crew went to bed at 7 a.m. and will be awakened at 3 p.m. They will undergo standard medical examinations this afternoon.

Tune in to the next Countdown Status Briefing being aired on NASA TV, Sunday at 2 p.m. EDT.

We’ll continue to update this post as news become available

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