Endeavor relaunch scheduled for 5:40 a.m. Wednesday.
The refueling of the space shuttle Endeavour will begin at 10 p.m. tonight (Tuesday). Then, if all goes well, it will blast off for the International Space Station (ISS) at 5:40 a.m. Wednesday morning.
My brother Mason and I have been watching the NASA Channel online while we are still in Florida. We traveled here from Texas to see the launch. We interviewed Astronaut Tim Kopra, who is traveling by shuttle to live on the ISS for three months. He will be part of the first six-person crew to live there!
When the launch was scrubbed due to a gas leak, we had a decision to make: how long to wait for the launch to be rescheduled before we had to go back home. So we started watching the NASA channel for news.
I learned that the main problem with rescheduling the launch is that NASA has a very full launch schedule this week and doesn't want to fall behind. Another launch was scheduled for Wednesday, the best day for rescheduling the space shuttle. (For us, too, since we really want to see the space shuttle launch!)
NASA planned to launch its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on Wednesday. After much discussion over several days, NASA officials decided to launch the Endeavour on Wednesday and the LRO on Thursday.
The LRO is another exciting NASA project. The orbiter is going to the moon to help plan another astronaut mission there. NASA is even looking to build a base there where astronauts can live and work.
Now that the LRO is rescheduled, it is all systems go for the Endeavour. Weather is the only other major problem that could keep the astronauts on earth. As of now, meteorologists predict an 80 percent chance that the weather will NOT affect the launch. If the weather keeps the shuttle from going on Wednesday, the next opportunity will be on July 11. We won't be able to stay for THAT.
I really hope that the shuttle can go on Wednesday, because everyone has gone through so much preparation and anticipation (including me and my family!). It would be disappointing to have to wait another month to go. But better to be safe!
Photo: The STS-127 Mission Patch with each astronaut's name on it. Photo Courtesy NASA Image.