Following Monday’s successful launch of the space shuttle, Atlantis and her crew are well on their way to rendezvous with the Hubble Space Telescope on Wednesday. During their first full day in orbit, the STS-125 crew members will inspect Atlantis’ heat shield for any problems that may have occurred during launch. Despite the picture perfect liftoff, there were a couple of issues during launch — a couple of alarms went off (more on those below.) If you missed the launch (like I did) or want to see it again, here’s a chance to watch it in HD. Also, below watch an HD video of the external tank falling to Earth, taken by a new high definition camera system.
From video and imagery, engineers saw nothing of note as far as debris strikes during launch.
Today, Tuesday, the crew will use Atlantis’ robotic arm and orbiter boom extension to check out the spacecraft’s underside and the leading edges of its wings. The crew will also check out tools they will use during the rendezvous with the telescope, and make sure all the spacesuits they will use during the mission’s five scheduled spacewalks are ready to go.
During the launch video, you’ll hear discussion about a couple of alarms.
“There were a couple of issues when we lifted off,” said Mike Moses, chairman of NASA’s mission management team, speaking at a post-launch press conference. “Right away off the pad, ASA-1 (aerosurface actuator 1), which is a flight control feedback system that controls the aerosurfaces, all the TVCs (thrust vector controllers), it’s one of four systems and it failed.
“It looks like the power failed to that unit and took it down. Again, it was one of four, it was no issue, it bypassed itself. The crew’s going to leave it alone for now while the teams look at it. We don’t need it again until entry, obviously, so we’ll do a thorough data review to find out what really happened to that box and whether we can reset it or not. Again, there’s no real rush, there’s no impact to that box being down.
“The other nuisance, on the left main engine there was a hydrogen-out pressure (signal) basically that was flashing transient, it kind of changed its signature on us,” Moses said. “When it tripped the limit, it rang an alarm on board and I think it did that two or three times on the way uphill. It’s just a transducer, it’s there for awareness, it didn’t feed into any software, it wasn’t part of any control loop. So no impact at all to the main engines or their performance.”
Four pressure transducers are located at the top end of each propellant tank (liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen). One of the four is considered a spare and is normally off-line. The crew was told to disregard the alarm.