24 August 2009

Discovery crew is ready for flight to ISS tomorrow

Credit NASA:
Space shuttle Discovery will carry the Leonardo supply module to the International Space Station during STS-128, along with a new crew member for the station, Nicole Stott.
Commanded by veteran astronaut Rick "C.J." Sturckow, the STS-128 mission crew will deliver refrigerator-sized racks full of equipment, including the COLBERT treadmill, an exercise device named after comedian Stephen Colbert. Stott will take the place of Tim Kopra, who moved into the station during STS-127. Pilot Kevin Ford and Mission Specialists Patrick Forrester, Jose Hernandez, John "Danny" Olivas and Sweden's Christer Fuglesang round out the crew.

Christer Fuglesang, tell us what it’s about. Give us a brief overview of the things you’re going to do:
So it’s kind of more logistics flight to the space station. We are not bringing up any new module to the space station except temporarily. We’re actually bringing up what’s called the Multipurpose Logistics Module, European built module which goes up in the payload bay of the shuttle and then once we dock at the station, we’ll move it out to the payload bay and dock it to the station, but only temporary for the time we are at the station, and it carries some six tons of stuff which we are going to move into the space station. We also have a huge tank for ammonia, called the ATA, Ammonia Tank Assembly which is kind of a spare part for the space station or we’re refilling the ammonia on the space station’s thermal control system, it’s on the outside of the space station to cool all the equipment there – kind of ammonia fluid going on and this huge tank, it’s kind of like a cubic meter and weighs 1700 pounds, 800 kilograms will be changed out in two EVAs, take the old one from the truss and then we take the new one from the shuttle’s payload bay and we change them. So those are the kind of big points, well, I guess I should also mention that we bring up a new member to the station crew, Nicole Stott, and we bring her up and we will exchange her with Tim Kopra who has been at the space station since the 127 flight.

Space shuttle Discovery is in the final stages of preparation before its flight to the International Space Station from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Fueling of Discovery's external tank with 500,000 gallons of super-cold liquid oxygen and hydrogen is scheduled to begin at 4:11 p.m. EDT, depending on weather conditions at the time. The "topping off" of propellants into the tank will continue until Discovery's liftoff. All systems aboard the shuttle are functioning normally and no issues are being reported. Weather continues to be 80 percent acceptable for a 1:36 a.m. Tuesday launch. Coverage of Discovery's liftoff on the STS-128 mission begins Monday at 8:30 p.m. Follow the countdown with NASA's launch blog and live commentary broadcast on NASA TV.

Update August 29 - Liftoff off was postponed several times until Saturday morning 04:59 UTC.

Boden Fortress - A long time secret place in Sweden

During the first world war the secret Boden Fortress was completed with its five very huge forts blasted into mountains surrounding Boden city in northern Sweden. They all were abunded as late as in 1998. The Rödberget fort is now a major tourist attraction in Boden. Björn, SM0YUZ knows a lot of these places and he took me on a guided tour to some of them. Many photos can be seen here (sorry text in Swedish) and here you can read the fascinating story of Boden Fortress.

Björn, SM0YUZ standing in front of the huge Stora Åberget fort.

The ugly Radiobunkern in Boden Fortress is a historical site as it was from here in 1921 the first public broadcast programmes in Sweden were transmitted. Link to an article in a Swedish newspaper.