Official Countdown Underway

The official countdown clock began ticking backward at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday. Launch is targeted for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 3:52 p.m. NASA Test Director Steve Payne said this morning that the work to repair the leaks is complete, the system is repressurized and work is on schedule for Discovery’s launch.

The Mission Management Team plan to meet Monday morning with a Pre-launch News Conference scheduled to follow at 11 a.m. The new conference will be carried live on NASA Television and at www.nasa.gov/ntv.

The weather forecast remains at 70 percent chance of favorable conditions at launch time.

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Work Complete and Final Launch Preparation Proceeding Smoothly

NASA Test Director Steve Payne said this morning that the work to repair the leaks is complete, the system is repressurized and work is on schedule for Discovery’s launch. The countdown is set to begin at 2 p.m. EDT today. Launch is targeted for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 3:52 p.m.

The Mission Management Team will meet tomorrow morning with a Pre-launch News Conference scheduled to follow at 11 a.m. The new conference will be carried live on NASA Television and at www.nasa.gov/ntv.

The weather forecast remains at 70 percent chance of favorable conditions at launch time.

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Countdown to Start Today for a Targeted Wednesday Launch

Overnight, work continued to prepare space shuttle Discovery for its targeted launch at 3:52 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Nov. 3, and the launch countdown is scheduled to begin today at 2 p.m. The latest weather forecast remains 70 percent “go” for Discovery’s launch.

NASA Television will air a status briefing at 10 a.m. EDT with NASA Test Director Steve Payne and Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. To view the briefing online go to www.nasa.gov/ntv.

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Countdown to Start Sunday for Targeted Launch Wednesday

NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding said this morning the launch team is confident that repairs to quick-disconnect fittings in the system used to pressurize space shuttle Discovery’s right Orbital Maneuvering System rocket engine will allow the shuttle to launch Wednesday, Nov. 3. The targeted launch time is 3:52 p.m.

"Right now we're in a good path to get there," Spaulding said.

The shuttle has until Sunday, Nov. 7, to launch in the current window, Spaulding said. Discovery is going to the International Space Station on mission STS-133. It will attach the Permanent Multipurpose Module, packed with supplies, equipment experiments and Robonaut 2, to the station. The crew of six astronauts will conduct two spacewalks during the 11-day mission.

The weather forecast for a launch Wednesday calls for 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions, according to Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. The main concerns are low clouds and the possibility of rain within 20 miles of the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the shuttle's launch and landing site.

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Discovery Launch Re-targeted to Wednesday, Nov. 3

NASA managers met this morning and determined it is not possible to launch space shuttle Discovery on Tuesday, Nov. 2, but are optimistic we can target launch for Wednesday, Nov. 3. The preferred liftoff time Nov. 3 would be 3:52 p.m. EDT.

Kennedy Space Center technicians worked overnight to repair quick-disconnect fittings in the system used to pressurize space shuttle Discovery’s right Orbital Maneuvering System rocket engine. They made good progress but are slightly behind the timeline that was prepared yesterday.

NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding will provide the latest details at 10 a.m. during a Precountdown Status Briefing on NASA Television.

The L-2 Mission Management Team meeting will occur Monday, Nov. 1 at 9:30 a.m.

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Mission Managers Meeting About Repair Work, Update at 10 a.m.

Kennedy Space Center technicians have worked overnight to repair quick-disconnect fittings in the system used to pressurize space shuttle Discovery’s right Orbital Maneuvering System rocket engine.

NASA managers will meet at 8 a.m. EDT to evaluate the replacement work on the connectors and determine Discovery’s next launch opportunity. Currently, launch is targeted for 4:17 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding will provide the latest details at 10 a.m. during a Precountdown Status Briefing on NASA Television.

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Witch’s Brew Aids J-2X Engine Hardware Assembly

Manufacturing of NASA's J-2X rocket engine includes a Halloween plunge into an icy cauldron of liquid nitrogen. Key components of the J-2X fuel turbopump were assembled at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s facility in Canoga Park, Calif. The J-2X fule turbopump is the rotating machinery that drives the liquid propellants into the engine. The cold pump volute -- the structural housing that contains the high-pressure liquid hydrogen -- was mated with the pump’s turbine bearing support, which was heated in an oven to approx. 300 degrees. When the fuel pump is operating on the J-2X engine, the pump side is extremely cold due to the liquid hydrogen, and the turbine side is extremely hot because of the hot gas generator gases that drive the turbine. The parts are heated to temperature extremes to ensure a precise and secure seal during manufacturing. NASA's J-2X is an efficient and versatile rocket engine, offering the ideal thrust and performance characteristics to power the upper stage of a heavy-lift launch vehicle. Hardware for the first engine is being assembled at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and at numerous subcontractor locations across the country, with testing anticipated at NASA's Stennis Space Center in early 2011. Image credit: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne › View related image

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Photo essay: Pararescuemen demonstrate their skills during Air Force Week

Pararescuemen from the Air Force Reserve Command's 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., perform a freefall water rescue demonstration here Oct. 27. The demonstration was part of Air Force Week Cocoa Beach, a weeklong event showcasing U.S. Air Force capabilities and increase public awareness.

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AFIT graduates first ever class of Cyberspace Warriors

AFIT and the Air Force Cyberspace Technical Center of Excellence conducted its first ever Cyber 200 and 300 Course graduation here Oct. 28. General. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command, served as keynote speaker for this first class of cyberspace warriors.

Over 100 students graduated from the Air Force Institute of Technology's newest educational courses designed to develop and train a dedicated cadre of cyberspace warriors.

"I have a great job being the AFIT commandant and historic moments like this are one of the reasons why," said Brig. Gen. Walter Givhan. The general was the opening speaker for the graduation held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Club.
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Air Force initiates service-wide upgrade to Windows 7

In its continuing effort to meet emerging threats, the U.S. Air Force initiated the service-wide upgrade of operating systems to Windows 7 today.

"This upgrade keeps with life cycle management best practices for information technology systems," said Col. Mark Ware, 24th Air Force director of operations. "The Air Force's upgrade from remaining Windows XP and those using Vista enhances the security of the Air Force information networks, reduces the manpower requirements for desktop administration, and lowers overall software licensing costs."
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