Saturday, December 8, 2007

Atlantis is "Go" for Launch

According to NASA, the launch of STS-122 is scheduled for Sunday, December 8th at 15:21 EST.

There has been an issue with the two of four engine cut-off (ECO) sensors on the external tank of the shuttle. These fuel sensors are critical for the shuttle's main engines to cut off properly. According to NASA rules, the shuttle can fly with 3 of 4 sensors online, but that is the abort limit.

Now, the experts have decided to "fill 'er up" and see how it goes.

I am reminded of a day I was going to fly a "first-timer" up to Columbia Airport. She had never been flying in her life and this was to be a grand experience for her.

The weather at San Jose Airport was marginal, at best. The plane I was renting had 1 nav and 1 comm radio out. The route up to Columbia was painting precip and lowered ceilings. Legal VFR, but not optimal and if things changed suddenly, I could end up in IFR in the foothills of the Sierras. Now, a single nav radio and a single comm radio was still legal to fly...but, I adhere to this single rule: "There are old pilots. There are bold pilots. There are no old, bold pilots."

I told my friend that we would "not be flying today". She appreciated my caution and, at a later date, her first flight was enjoyable and memorable in its lack of excitement.

I hope that there is no excitement tomorrow for STS-122.

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