After hanging out at the hotel last night and watching the weather go downhill fast, I was honestly expecting them to scrub the launch due to that reason. It would have been the first time since 1995 that they had to scrub due to weather before fueling the tanks. Well their weather guys decided shortly before 11 p.m. that the weather was improving and that they would commence fueling. As I left the hotel, the rain had indeed subsided to a very light drizzle, however there was still lots of lightening occurring.
I stopped to grab a quick bite to eat, since I was expecting a long night and kept tabs on the progress – things seemed to be going well. Leaving the restaurant, I got my tickets and vehicle pass rounded up and headed towards the visitor center. Had a bit of a scare when I got to the security checkpoint and all of a sudden couldn’t find my vehicle pass. They waved me out of the line and I frantically searched the car – it’s a small space – where’d it go?!
Turns out it had slipped almost completely behind the passenger seat – I got back in line and was waved through a couple minutes later. Crisis averted!
Got to the space center with the usual eager anticipation – so far so good on the launch pad. It was about 12:45 and the first bus out to the NASA causeway, the viewing area, didn’t leave till 2:45. I caught the 1:00 a.m. showing of the 3D IMAX film about the space station – very cool. The movie let out about 1:50 and I headed over to the Launch Status building for the 2 a.m. briefing. I no sooner sat down when over the PA the announcement was made that the launch was being scrubbed at 1:55 a.m. What a letdown.
I hung out with a few other people to hear the first briefing at about 2:30 – no news other than what was already known – a very similar fuel leak as last Saturday and on STS-119 (which I missed in March). It’s back to square one for NASA to figure out what’s going on and fix the problem. Safety has to be the number 1 priority. The next launch window opens July 11 – but whether they Go then or later depends on how the troubleshooting proceeds.
I hope to somehow make it back down here when they’re ready. For now, it’s time to begin the long trek back home. While I had some nice visits to several national parks along the way, I must say that this trip has been a bit of a disappointment given the failure of the main objective. Oh well, it’s all about the journey and not the destination as they say – whoever they are…