STS-107 Caramba log 6 - Anticipation of Clouds and Thunder

We are into the final 30 day countdown before the launch of STS-107. After completing the Christmas break the crew will shortly be entering quarantine, first at Johnson Space Center then at Kennedy Space Center. As with all prelaunch prime crews ("prime" indicating next to fly) these final pre-mission preparations make the flight seem real at long last. Crewmembers must adjust their circadian rhythyms (sleep/wake cycles) as dictated by the mission, diets are strictly controlled, and casual, everyday human contact ceases as quarantine begins. Of course, mission task review, and drills in the simulators and aircraft (T-38 and Shuttle Training Aircraft-STA) continue unabated.

Guest lists have been completed and final launch viewing information mailed. Wakeup music selections for some crewmembers have yet to be turned in (some deadlines are less critical than others); items flown for various organizations and persons have long since been loaded aboard Columbia. Crew family mission briefings approach with the advance admonition of "be flexible" to which one reply was "Call me Gumby". We are very fortunate that the STS-107 crew and family are both colleagues and friends, the latter going a very long way to minimize difficulties and maximize appreciation of the event.

At the moment of launch, clouds and thunder appear in abundance: clouds from the steam generated as the solid rocket boosters boil away thousands of gallons of water that dampen their acoustic wave, and thunder as the Columbia heaves itself off the launch pad followed by an eight minute race to orbit. Shuttle flightdeck video clearly indicates liftoff - vibration and smiles all around when the engines ignite.

Each shuttle mission is broadcast on the NASA channel, including a condensed daily highlights segment which starts with the wakeup music for the particular shift. Check your cable/satellite television listings to determine the NASA Channel channel number in your area.

J P Harrison

The foregoing are the personal observations of Jean-Pierre Harrison and do not constitute an official statement or endorsement by NASA or any NASA employee or contractor.

Commander Husband
Commander
Rick D Husband
Pilot
William C McCool
Payload Commander
Michael P Anderson
Mission Specialist
Kalpana Chawla
Mission Specialist
Laurel B Clark
Payload Specialist
Ilan Ramon
Mission Specialist
David M Brown

Links:
Shuttle Simulator Prepares Astronauts and Ground Crew for Missions
Space Shuttle Simulator Images
Shuttle Training Aircraft: Flying The Ultimate Sim


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