I drove down to Kennedy Space Center for the launch lastweek, and while I left without seeing the launch, I experienced what it’s likewhen the launch scrubs. Actually, I experienced a series of scrubs as Discoverywas set to launch Monday and then Tuesday and so on, until finally on Fridaythe launch was moved to no earlier than Nov. 30.

Space shuttle Discovery on the pad at night awaiting launch

It was a bit frustrating to wake up each morning ready to gosee the launch only to have it delayed day after day but that’s all part of it,part of spaceflight and part of making sure we fly safe. I hope to make it downthere again, if not for STS-133 then for the next mission, STS-134, currentlyscheduled for February of next year.

I did, however, get to ride the ShuttleLaunch Experience at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The riderumbles and shakes, simulating what it is like riding a space shuttle intoorbit.

As far as we know, the STS-133 downlink with the crew willshift with the launch. We’ll have more information about the new date and timeof the downlink later this month.

Follow mission updates on NASA’s STS-133mission page, and also via tweets from @Astro_Nicole, STS-133 MissionSpecialist Nicole Stott.

One thought on “Scrub”

  1. Thanks for the great blog. I have blogged myself many times about NASA, the separate entity called the KSC Visitor’s Center, and the phenemenon of tens of thousands of people timing their vacation plans and hotel reservations and airline bookings to Shuttle launches. Because NASA’s charter did not include the mission statement of entertaining perhaps hundreds of thousands of people with human-carrying supersonic pyrotechnics shows of the type never seen before and unlikely to ever be seen again in any future launch (which takes it closer to the no-flame Star Trek launches and less like the fiery energetic show that makes the Shuttle launches as visually exciting as they are) … NASA of course has never felt the need to launch based on the number of excited spectators, dignitaries, and foreign ambassadors in from the entire globe. Of course, this is the correct and in the final verdict only possible consideration – to pretend as if this is just another X-15 or Lifting Body flight, and by necessity, to ignore both the numbers and desires of the ground-based spectators. Of course, NASA shares the ultimate dream about space travel that I do – that in fact it will someday become so safe and routine that we will consider launches and landings as boring and as what happens at the average urban airport or even on an average rural road. That is our future, and the days where the world’s attention turns to a space launch are indeed numbered. So, enjoy the attention, NASA while you can, and for everyone else, please know that the exhiliration turned to disappointment is just a passing trend. Someday in our lifetime, we will give no more thought to manned space lauches than, well, to be honest with you, we give to the exciting scientific drama of today’s unmanned launches, which largely slide under the radar scope of press attention and public interest.

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