2 Days Until Launch

Or until the scheduled launch date, which may not end up being the launch. So perhaps I should re-title these updates.

I’m posting from the luxurious Hilton Ocean Walk, overlooking the ocean, listening to the waves crash. Yep, it’s a rough life. BTW, I highly recommend Priceline. I broke my rule of never paying more than $50/night, but only by five bucks.

There was a confusion with the room which left us waiting in the lobby for 3 hours, 2 hours past the check-in time of 3:00pm, but Hilton made it right and upgraded us to oceanfront. Yay, Hilton.

We drove all night, trading off and both my husband and I catching only 1-2 hours of sleep. The kids are both sick but we decided they can be sick here as easily as home. Warm weather won’t make them worse, at least. We packed the medicine and are giving them extra rest time.  We bypassed the hotel and drove straight to the Kennedy Visitors Center. I wanted to buy something for autographs. We didn’t want to buy tickets for the center, but luckily there is a ‘shopper’s pass’ option that a security guard told us about. We paid $42 for 4 tickets, but got the money back if we returned the tickets within 90 minutes. We made it with 15 minutes to spare, I think.

The place was PACKED. People were lined up 50-100 for each ticket booth, but the gift shop wasn’t crowded yet. It’s something people do on their way out, typically. I bought 12 cachet covers to be postmarked the day of the final launch, a jumbo NASA patch for autographs, a pin, a mission patch, 3 t-shirts, a hat, a car sticker, and a couple of fridge magnets. Nothing but the bare essentials, of course.

I am skipping the group shindig at the Cape Canaveral museum viewing the SpaceX exhibit. With my husband, kids, and parents here, I’m limiting my experience pretty much to the launch events only. Another time, perhaps.

What did NASA do today? They were busier than I.

Complete preparations to load power reactant storage and distribution system (4 a.m.)
Activate and test navigational systems (2 a.m.)
Flight Crew Equipment early stow and flight deck preliminary inspections complete (5 a.m.)

Enter 4-hour built-in hold at T-27 hours (5 a.m.)

Clear launch pad of all nonessential personnel
Perform test of the vehicle’s pyrotechnic initiator controllers and range safety system

Resume countdown (9 a.m.)

Begin ops to load cryogenic reactants into Atlantis’ fuel cell storage tanks (9 a.m.)

Enter 4-hour built-in hold at T-19 hours (5 p.m.)

Demate orbiter mid-body umbilical unit (5:30 p.m.)
Resume orbiter and ground support equipment closeouts

Resume countdown (9 p.m.)

Main engine avionics, pneumatics and controller checkout (10 p.m.)
External tank feedline inspection/camera cleaning

Hey, I was awake at 2am, 4am, and 5am. And all those other times. 🙂


About rennawarren

I've won a spot for the STS-135 NASA Tweetup. I'm going to try to document the experience.
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