Shuttle astronauts arrive
at the Cape for launch
BY JUSTIN RAY
Posted: February 2, 2010
Ready to begin counting down to their blastoff aboard the space shuttle Endeavour this weekend, the six astronauts traveled from the Houston training base to the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday night.
"Welcome to the STS-130 night shift! It is the only shift we got. If you are working STS-130, it is going to be dark outside," commander George Zamka told reporters after arriving at the Florida spaceport.
"Hey, it is great to be here at the Cape. We've got Tranquility and cupola loaded up in the space shuttle Endeavour at launch pad 39A and this is the place for us to be."
The crew also includes pilot Terry Virts and mission specialists Kay Hire, Steve Robinson, Nick Patrick and Bob Behnken. Their space voyage is slated for launch at 4:39 a.m. EST Sunday, an event precisely timed based on the International Space Station's orbit.
After making the brief statement to the news media at the runway and posing for photos, the crew was bussed away. Upcoming on their schedule overnight, the astronauts will receive a briefing on their flight data files and check out their spacesuits that will be worn during launch and landing.
They also plan a 6:15 a.m. visit to the Space Station Processing Facility for an inspection of late-delivered items for the mission, including the new ammonia cooling hoses for the Tranquility module that were put together after an earlier design failed pre-flight testing recently.
Bedtime will be 9:45 a.m. EST, as the crew shifts its wake/sleep cycle for the overnight work hours of the mission. They will be awakened at 5:45 p.m. EST Wednesday for a day devoted to landing practice using the Shuttle Training Aircraft and reviewing flight plans.
"We had just done our final ascent (simulation) last night and we're doing final preparations for our mission. Everything with Endeavour sounds like it's going very, very well. We've got a great team here at the Cape and they're doing an excellent job getting ready for 0439 on Sunday, the 7th," Zamka said.
"We talked to the space station crew -- Jeff Williams and company -- last night. They are doing great, and we're all very excited about meeting up with them, rendezvousing with the space station and getting started on on this great project of bringing the Tranquility module to life and putting the cupola in its final position, opening up those shutters and taking a look at the Earth.