MISSION: STS-103 – 3rd Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission

VEHICLE: Discovery/OV-103
TARGET KSC LAUNCH DATE/TIME: December 16 at 9:18 p.m. EST
TARGET LANDING DATE/TIME: December 26 at about 6:56 p.m. EST
LAUNCH WINDOW: 41 minutes
MISSION DURATION: about 9 days and 21 hours
CREW: Brown, Kelly, Smith, Foale, Grunsfeld, Nicollier, Clervoy
ORBITAL ALTITUDE and INCLINATION: 317 nautical miles/28.45 degrees

Work in progress: Preparations for the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery
continue on schedule today. Last night, work began to load the orbiter’s
fuel cell storage tanks with cryogenic reactants and loading operations
concluded this morning. Discovery’s main engines have undergone routine
prelaunch preparations today and orbiter communication system activation
occurs tonight. Flight crew equipment late stowage begins later this

Today, Shuttle managers and engineers have evaluated a welding issue
involving external tank pressure lines. While the issue was identified on
hardware intended for use on a future flight, engineers are confirming that
the welding flaw was an isolated occurrence and that the pressure lines on
Shuttle Discovery’s external tank are not affected. With the weld analysis
all but complete, managers expect to close the issue early tomorrow.

Current weather forecasts call for few clouds at 3,000 feet and scattered
clouds at 25,000 feet; visibility of 7 miles; winds from the north at 12
peaking to 20 knots; temperature at 52 degrees F; relative humidity at 69
percent; and no chance of showers. Weather officials indicate a 90 percent
that weather will be favorable for a launch on Thursday. Forecasters
predict an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for launch attempts on
Friday and Saturday.

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