Space Shuttle Endeavour launch

Not sure if this should go here or in Cafe, since it is about watching NASA TV in particular, but the shuttle in general. I’d also say, the launch appears to be far from Mundane. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyone else watching this on NASA TV? or online?

I have had it on for over an hour now and am trying to figure out how many different people are involved in the launch. There appear to be about 5 or 6 different voices talking to the crew through out the past hour. I’m sure each person has a specific role to perform and is responsible for their tasks, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how they keep from talking over each other.

Any Dopers have any first hand experience with a Shuttle launch?

I’m bumbing my own thread with another question. At the 9 minute mark of the countdown they have a hold for 45 minutes (or some exact number). I have watched a few of these launches for the shuttle and they have a hold at 9 minutes every time I’ve watched. The hold is orchestrated down to the second and they pick up the countdown right at 9 minutes.


Why not just have the count go on during the “hold” period and push the countdown out by the length of the hold. I know they are checking systems and making sure everything is a “GO”, but does it make a difference if they find a problem at:
1. 9 minutes on the countdown and 15 minutes into the 45 minute hold or,
2. if the countdown was at 39 minutes.

One part is that they need to look at certain things right then. IIRC, one of the big things is making sure that the emergency abort landing strips and the bits of ocean where the SRBs will fall are totally clear (no planes or boats in the area, etc). I’ll see if I can get a better answer when I talk to my sister. She’s likely to know because…

She and my dad were down in Florida for the launch, partly because some work she’s done was on that shuttle, and I am jealous - watching it a few hours later on YouTube just isn’t the same.

I think anyone who says that shuttle launches are routine and boring has never really sat down and watched one, even on TV. It gives me chills to watch.

ETA: Today is my father’s birthday. He said that even though it was no where near a cake, a launching shuttle is the coolest birthday candle ever.

I understand that, but if they have a built in 45 minute hold, they know its going to take them 45 minutes to get all this ‘stuff’ done so that 9 minutes later they are going to be able to launch, why not just set the entire countdown to 54 minutes and keep the clock ticking.

Happy Birthday Ninja Dad!

I agree - it completely baffles and inspires me to watch a launch. I have seen 1 launch in person and it was spectacular. 1 minute an object the size of a small building is sitting in front of me and 10 minutes later it’s 200 miles above the earth and over Europe or Africa.

I was not following anything on upcoming launches when they mentioned it on the 10pm news. I looked at my wife and said, " Guess you are going to bed alone tonight, I’ll be up after they launch" (which put me in bed around 1am).

There is more than the hold at T minus 9, there is another at T minus 20 and others upstream, I think some of it has to do with the launch controller being apollo era and not able to count out from where they need to start the clock. Maybe Stranger on a Train would know better, and maybe this could get better answers in GQ since we are looking for a factual answer?

For those of you who have never seen a night launch, I submit my photos: Link

Maybe these extra procedures were added to the original countdown at some point? I know they increased the power of the engines beyond the initial design goals. They already had tons of documentation that had the original specification listed as 100% thrust, so they kept that, and when they go over the original spec they just call it 104% thrust or what have you.