Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Endeavour set for Holidays

Space shuttle Endeavour's hatch has been closed and purging systems are set up to blow warm air into the shuttle and critical systems during the holiday break. Standing inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Endeavour has been bolted onto its external tank and twin solid rocket boosters. The temperature inside the shuttle will be kept at about 70 degrees with about 50 percent humidity. Warm air is circulated around the main engines and orbital maneuvering system thrusters to protect them from the colder temperatures. They will come on when the forecast calls for temperatures of 45 degrees or lower for four hours.

Endeavour's next major milestone is scheduled for Jan. 6, 2010, when it is rolled out to Launch Pad 39A. Liftoff of the spacecraft on the STS-130 mission is targeted for Feb. 7 at 4:39 a.m. EST.

Endeavour crew training for STS-130 mission

Image above: Crew trainer Patrick Jones (right) briefs STS-130 crew members during a training session in the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Pictured from the left are Pilot Terry Virts Jr., Mission Specialists Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken, Commander George Zamka and Mission Specialists Stephen Robinson and Kathryn Hire. Photo credit: NASA/JSC
› High-res image

› Meet the STS-130 Crew

Endeavour's STS-130 Mission
Commander George Zamka will lead the STS-130 mission to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Endeavour. Terry Virts will serve as the pilot. Mission specialists are Nicholas Patrick, Robert Behnken, Stephen Robinson and Kathryn Hire. Virts will be making his first trip to space.

Endeavour will deliver a third connecting module, the Tranquility node, to the station in addition to the seven-windowed Cupola module, which will be used as a control room for robotics. The mission will feature three spacewalks.

Liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is targeted for February 7, 2010, at 4:39 a.m. EST