NASA Set For Another Night Time Launch

Everything is a go for another rare night time launch of the space shuttle Endeavor. Houston Public Radio’s Pat Hernandez reports.

Forecasters have pegged the launch as 90 percent favorable.

“One of the major items we worry about is weather and that’s not going to be a problem it appears for tonight-tomorrow morning’s launch attempt. The weather is about what is was here in Houston a couple of days ago…beautiful, clear skies. So, right now, there’s no technical issues that any of the teams are tracking so, hopefully, it’ll be a good night for a shuttle launch.”

Daytime launches were the order following the 2003 Columbia disaster, but NASA’s Kyle Herring says they have more reasons now to feel comfortable.

“The newest reason that we’re able to launch at night with some comfort is all of the design work that’s been put into the improvements of the shuttle, its external fuel tanks since the Columbia accident. Incorporated into this flight is actually a new flash system on the underbelly of the space shuttle Endeavor that will allow the camera, the digital camera to fire flash photography of the external tank even in darkness…about every two seconds, 23-frames just after the shuttle ejects the tank, if you will. And therefore, we expect to get some very clear pictures of the tank as it falls away from the shuttle.”

The seven member crew will deliver the first installment of Japan’s space station lab, as well as a Canadian two-armed robot designed to assist spacewalking astronauts at the station.

Endeavor is scheduled for lift-off at 1:28 tomorrow morning.

Pat Hernandez, Houston Public Radio News