Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 2
The projected path of Hurricane Lili takes the storm just off the coast
of Texas by Thursday. Credit: NASA
Shuttle Atlantis launch delayed till Monday
Posted: October 1, 2002 at 9:02 a.m. EDT

Launch of the shuttle Atlantis on a space station assembly mission has been delayed to no earlier than Monday because of Hurricane Lili's approach to the Gulf Coast and the protective powering down of sensitive mission control systems at the Johnson Space Center near Houston.

U.S. control of the international space station was handed over to Russia and a small contingent of NASA personnel at the Russian mission control center near Moscow at 5 a.m. today, after U.S. controllers at JSC left their normal control center.

"OK. You guys take care down there," station flight engineer Peggy Whitson radioed.

Implementation of "level 3" hurricane protection measures overnight resulted in a carefully orchestrated shut down of mission control systems used to support ongoing station operations and shuttle missions. The shutdown was ordered to protect against the possibility of an evacuation or loss of electrical power due to the impact of Lili.

Assuming engineers begin powering systems back up Thursday, the shuttle Atlantis could be launched as early as Monday.

At the Kennedy Space Center, engineers will top off Atlantis' on-board supplies of liquid oxygen and hydrogen, used to power the ship's electrical generators, to restore its capability to make five launch attempts if necessary. If all goes well, the countdown will be restarted at the T-minus 11-hour mark.

At the Johnson Space Center, NASA managers are still evaluating Lili's track and debating whether to implement level 2 procedures, which would require the evacuation of non-essential personnel. As of this writing, officials say that doesn't appear likely. But given the time needed to re-activate mission control computer systems, launch is off until at least Monday regardless.

Monday's launch period extends from 2 to 6 p.m. EDT. The exact launch time will be announced 24 hours in advance.
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.