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Dennis Threatens Discovery Launch Date

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the bad-hurricane-no-biscuit dept.

Space 186

BitFluid writes "According to, hurricane Dennis is casting doubt on the shuttle's July 13th launch date. From the article: 'NASA has until the end of July to send Discovery on a flight to the international space station, otherwise it must wait until September to ensure a daylight launch.' Shuttle managers decided Thursday evening to begin initial preparations to move Discovery from the pad, as the hurricane increased in intensity and headed toward the Gulf of Mexico and Florida's southern tip. NASA spokesman George Diller said, 'We're going to keep our options open. We're still trying to protect the 13th.'"

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Some more info... (4, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | about 9 years ago | (#13014843)

Here's a tracking map of Hurricane Dennis [] , courtesy of the good folks over at Weather Underground.

Looks fairly safe (since Cape Canaveral [] is off the east coast of Florida), but I'm sure the boys over at NASA don't want to take any chances...

Re:Some more info... (2, Insightful)

Iriel (810009) | about 9 years ago | (#13014879)

Considering that I've seen a good number of articles about NASA trying to quell fears about launch activity after the last major crash, I would would be inclined to think that half of thier decision is based on safety and half on PR (based upon your geographic information). There's always the chance for the unexpected to happen, and people know that. As long as some are still skeptical about another trip, I don't NASA wants to take any chances or 'scare the children' while their at it.

Re:Some more info... (5, Insightful)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | about 9 years ago | (#13015221)

half on PR

Well can you blame them?

The President shut down the Shuttle program after the last crash. Of COURSE it's PR. But if they don't take every single stupid precaution, NASA will get shut down immediately, which means that there won't be a US space program until the private space businesses catch up, if they ever do.

Our society is incredibly risk-adverse today, and they don't seem to understand that travelling to space is a very dangerous business. The astronauts all know that, and they chose to take the risk.

In the past, how many explorers lost their lives when travelling across the great oceans? None of us would be here today if some big beureaucratic government kept the boat in the dock until the sailors fixed every little flaw in the boat.

Re:Some more info... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13014884)

Happy Friday!

Re:Some more info... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13014895)

This was obviously posted as a topic for "discussion" but, wtf is there to discuss? It's a hurricane. It's not like we've never seen one before. It's not like a shuttle mission hasn't ever been delayed before. Is this really "stuff that matters"?

Re:Some more info... (1)

koreaman (835838) | about 9 years ago | (#13015049)

You must be new here.

Re:Some more info... (1)

bwalling (195998) | about 9 years ago | (#13014897)

Looks fairly safe (since Cape Canaveral is off the east coast of Florida), but I'm sure the boys over at NASA don't want to take any chances...

Hurricanes throw off wind and rain for hundreds of miles in their wake. Look at some of the radar and satellite maps - towards the east side of the hurricane, you will see bands of clouds spreading outward for quite some distance.

Re:Some more info... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 9 years ago | (#13014901)

NASA is in something of a tricky position with this. On one hand they are criticized for not listening to potential dangers. (e.g. Challenger O-Rings, Columbia Foam, etc.) On the other hand they are criticized for not taking enough action when it needs to be taken.

So the question is, should NASA take action and make sure this launch happens, or should they hold back the launch and potentially lose months (perhaps even another year) before a good launch window opens up?

I do not envy those in charge of NASA. :-/

Re:Some more info... (2, Funny)

Gherald (682277) | about 9 years ago | (#13014953)

I do not envy those in charge of NASA. :-/

That's ok; I'll do enough envying for the both of us.

Re:Some more info... (2, Interesting)

part_of_you (859291) | about 9 years ago | (#13015118)

Once I was in an airplane, approaching for landing. The weather was bad, rain, wind and such. The pilot attempted to land the plane, and we got about 100 ft. off the ground, but then suddenly, the plane pulled up and we were going back up. The pilot came on and said that he could not land the plane due to lack of a good visual. Most of the people on the plane were on business, and got mad. I over-heard one angry man bitching about not being on time. The flight attendant told the man that this was one of the most experienced pilots that flew for whatever airline that was. The man said "well then why couldn't he land the fucking plane then!" The flight attendant said, "If he wasn't so experienced, he wouldn't have attempted a landing at all sir."

Make of it what you will. But I think NASA doesn't need to please anyone, except the people that will be on board the shuttle.

Re:Some more info... (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 9 years ago | (#13015331)

Point well taken, with one exception...

With this Administration you're damned likely to never get a second chance. They aren't exactly good at changing their minds even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

So pleasing Congress and Dubya is probably a decent idea at least to keep your options open.

Re:Some more info... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 9 years ago | (#13015286)

In this big of a spot light they are in a precarious situation. On one hand they try to be as safe as possible. A check list of something like 3 million items must be signed off on before every launch. (this was reported on slashdot a few years ago.) On the other they have to weed out some things as being too unlikely to go wrong.

When you are listening to 3 million ideas of what needs to be checked and double checked its easy to miss out on a couple of things that maybe werent thought of, or were thought of but ignored due to a combination of more important things and the risk factor being miss judged to low.

This also reminds me of the FBI reports prior to 9/11 about middle easterners training in Arizona and it turned out that they were the 9/11 hijackers. Sure someone knew about it and reported it but how many millions of reports do they get that dont turn out to be hijackers?

I guess it goes back to that old saying Hindsight is 20/20.

Re:Some more info... (1)

Rei (128717) | about 9 years ago | (#13014989)

Dennis is early. Mr. Wilson [] isn't scheduled to fly until September.

Re:Some more info...wider track (1)

fallendragon (777963) | about 9 years ago | (#13015236) /150721.shtml?tswind120?large [] according to the National Hurricane Center, winds equal to or exceeding 34 kt...39 mph (tropical storm force) extend to Cape Canaveral - that's probably why they're not taking any chances

Re:Some more info...wider track (1)

tdemark (512406) | about 9 years ago | (#13015367)

You might want to look at that image again ... it says that there is a 20% chance that winds will be tropical storm force at Cape Canaveral between now and next Wednesday.

what if (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13014849)

the hurricane knocked over the space shuttle? LOL

with love, from japlandia

Re:what if (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13014924)

Not even close...the monkey beat you again.
You fail it.

Excuses, excuses ... (-1, Troll)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | about 9 years ago | (#13014850)

Waaaaah ... the big bad hurricane is too scary ... waaaah

Re:Excuses, excuses ... (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 9 years ago | (#13014948)

High velocity, turbulent winds + precise trajectories required = Very Bad

High-speed flying debris + extremely lightweight airframe components = Very Bad

Lightning + tall metal structure full of exceedingly combustable materials = Very Bad

If craft is launching: Rain + moving at thousands of meters per second, turning each drop into an impactor = Very Bad

Especially if craft is launching: Wind shear + very tall, weak object = Very Bad

Even if there is no damage to the craft, inspection time = Very Expensive, Bad.

Need I go on? Inclement weather is horrible to rockets. Even having to move the craft off its pad and back into the assembly building alone, then move it back, is a very big, expensive, time consuming task. If there's any damage to the building, and especially if there's damage to the vehicle, it could be a huge issue. Even if the storm doesn't hit Florida, slight bad weather from the fringes of the storm can be very bad for rockets during launch, for reasons described above and more.

Poor Location (3, Insightful)

darth_MALL (657218) | about 9 years ago | (#13014852)

Why, again, are NASA launches based in Florida? They always seem to schedule launches during the 'hurricane season'
Why don't they pack up shop and move to Texas or New Mexico? If they can set off a nuke there, I think a rocket accident is the least of their worries.

Re:Poor Location (5, Informative)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13014890)

That's where the infrastructure is. It would very well cost many billions of dollars, if not up into the trillions, to duplicate the Florida establishments in Texas or New Mexico. Not to mention the cost of relocating all of the support staff.

Re:Poor Location (1)

stanmann (602645) | about 9 years ago | (#13014925)

And the infrastructure is there because in early space experimentation the unmanned craft would frequently not go very far toward orbit, and crashing into the ocean is preferable to crashing into Dallas. Ok, maybe not to everyone.

Re:Poor Location (4, Funny)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13014951)

Not only that, but a stray rocket flying into Mexico could be disasterous for American foreign relations.

Re:Poor Location (2, Funny)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | about 9 years ago | (#13015024)

No, no, no President Fox. We didn't accidentally shoot a rocket into Mexico. It was simply a gift for the Mexican people...delivered at high velocities!

Re:Poor Location (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015031)

Woo, that's a good one! As if the US cares about what mexico thinks. Hmmm, maybe it does... is there Oil in Mexico?

Re:Poor Location (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | about 9 years ago | (#13015135)

If there were any significant amounts of oil in Mexico, it would be a state called "Old Mexico" by now

Re:Poor Location (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | about 9 years ago | (#13015202)

You do know that there is significant amounts of oil in Mexico don't you?

Re:Poor Location (2, Informative)

Nopal (219112) | about 9 years ago | (#13015317)

Mexico has very significant oil reserves around the Yucatan peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico. It's of a slightly lower grade than the mideastern oil, but it's quite a bit of oil nonetheless.

Re:Poor Location (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | about 9 years ago | (#13015264)

Now President Fox, we have come to discuss the issue of the Postage Stamps [] .

Re:Poor Location (2, Informative)

krswan (465308) | about 9 years ago | (#13015089)

Let's not forget how many failed launches ended up in the Atlantic between the Cape and Africa in the 50's and 60's. Look at a map. Only Florida is south enough for the inertial assist to orbit from the Earth, and has several thousand miles of Ocean east of it.

Re:Poor Location (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | about 9 years ago | (#13014916)

Easy, it's flat, and since you launch into the East, if anything goes wrong, it falls in the ocean, not some schlemeil's back yard.

Re:Poor Location (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | about 9 years ago | (#13015250)

it falls in the ocean, not some schlemeil's back yard.

Yiddish in Mexico? o_O

Re:Poor Location (2, Interesting)

GlassUser (190787) | about 9 years ago | (#13014918)

Why, again, are NASA launches based in Florida? They always seem to schedule launches during the 'hurricane season'
Why don't they pack up shop and move to Texas or New Mexico? If they can set off a nuke there, I think a rocket accident is the least of their worries.

It needs to be at low lattitudes, to reduce the push required to get into orbit, and being on the east coast makes it easier to ship lots of stuff in by barge.

But most importantly, politics.

Re:Poor Location (4, Insightful)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 9 years ago | (#13014954)

Politics is what put JSC in Houston. Geography by way of physics is what put KSC in Florida.

Re:Poor Location (1)

GlassUser (190787) | about 9 years ago | (#13014992)

Politics is what put JSC in Houston. Geography by way of physics is what put KSC in Florida

Could have put it in Brownsville (very south tip of Texas) for similar results re geography. But yes, about the only thing JSC has going for it (besides the fact that it's a ten minute walk from me) is politics. There is otherwise really no reason to have it in Houston, unfortunately.

Re:Poor Location (1)

chill (34294) | about 9 years ago | (#13015185)

There are lots of islands if you head SE from Brownsville, across the Carribean. E and SE from Cape Canaveral sees lots and lots of open ocean.

Re:Poor Location (3, Interesting)

saider (177166) | about 9 years ago | (#13015343)

Also keep in mind that by having mission control half way across the country, the engineers had to do some pioneering work in communications. Think of them as the first telecommuters. We take it for granted now, but in the 50's, there was not the communications infrastructure needed to do this.

Reply to own post (2, Informative)

darth_MALL (657218) | about 9 years ago | (#13014937)

"Cape Canaveral was chosen for rocket launches to take advantage of the earth's rotation. At the equator, the centrifugal force of earth's rotation is the maximum. The direction of earth's rotation is such that to take advantage of the rotation, rockets should be launched eastward. It is also highly desirable to have the downrange area sparsely populated, ideally an ocean, in case of accidents. Thus rockets should be launched from a continent's east coast as close to the equator as possible. For the United States, Florida is the most southerly east coast location."

Re:Poor Location (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13014938)

The most dangerous time for the general population is during launch. It's much safer to dump burning debris over the Atlantic than, say, Albuquerque.

Re:Poor Location (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | about 9 years ago | (#13014955)

Why don't they pack up shop and move to Texas or New Mexico? If they can set off a nuke there, I think a rocket accident is the least of their worries.

I think because if a down-range accident happens, you want the wreckage to land in the ocean, not on Phoenix or Ciudad Juarez.

Re:Poor Location (1)

Enigma_Man (756516) | about 9 years ago | (#13015018)

It's the closest to the equator in the US, and thus gets a "bonus" from the rotational speed of the earth to get to orbit. From cape canaveral, you get something like a 1,000 MPH bonus when launching to the east.


Re:Poor Location (1)

MindStalker (22827) | about 9 years ago | (#13015119)

Sorry Hawaii is much farther south. Though politically that wouldn't fly as Hawaii isn't exactly looking for handouts like Florida generally is.

Re:Poor Location (2, Insightful)

Enigma_Man (756516) | about 9 years ago | (#13015144)

Continental US, where it's easy to build gigantic things like rockets, and have the goods and materials shipped to you via train. Hawaii is only marginally more southern, only gives a couple extra MPH on an eastern launch, and is much more isolated.


Re:Poor Location (2, Insightful)

sholden (12227) | about 9 years ago | (#13015069)

Recovering and reusing the boosters after they smash into the ground at 55 mph would be problematic.

Re:Poor Location (1)

shoemaker251 (816362) | about 9 years ago | (#13015132)

Southern Florida is closer to the equator which gives the spacecraft more of a push to achieve orbit. The Earth's rotation means the land is actually traveling faster [] at the equator (1670 kph), while the land halfway to the poles is traveling slower (1180 kph). This extra push reduces the amount of energy required to make it to orbit.

Re:Poor Location (1)

ZOmegaZ (687142) | about 9 years ago | (#13015242)

Energy requirements for launches are lower the closer to the equator you are. In the United States, the only place better than Florida would be Hawaii, and you can imagine how much of a pain that would be. This is also why ESA launches take place in French Guiana.

It's better for them to wait.. (3, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13014857)

... than to destroy yet another shuttle.

so what (1)

kalpol (714519) | about 9 years ago | (#13014859)

hell just launch through the hurricane. It's hardly more dangerous than any of the other risky problems facing the shuttle.

Re:so what (2, Interesting)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | about 9 years ago | (#13014935)

From the article Managers want the best possible views of Discovery at liftoff to see if any foam insulation or other debris falls off the tank and hits the shuttle, as happened during Columbia's 2003 flight.
Forgive me, but what good would that do? So they could give the astronauts a few seconds to make peace if it is a problem that effects liftoff?
It seems to me that the shuttle has some serious issues... I mean, if they notice debris falling and damaging the shuttle, what can they do, is the shuttle carrying spare parts for a spacewalk repair of the exterior?
My opinion, the beurocracy is the problem... Why can the X prize competitors do what they do, but NASA, with many times the budget, has these problems? It must lie in the beurocracy.

Re:so what (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 9 years ago | (#13015022)

Just because debris falls doesn't mean that it hits the shuttle. And if it's observed, they'll at least know it needs to be fixed.

Re:so what (1)

Ced_Ex (789138) | about 9 years ago | (#13015033)

First of all... 'bureaucracy' isn't so much the issue as it is the difference in application.

X Prize competitors only had to kiss the rim of space and come back. NASA needs to be able to lift a couple of tonnes of equipment into space for a duration of time.

If X Prize competitors are able to do that, then you might have some justification in your arguments, but for now you're comparing a glider against a concorde.

Re:so what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015050)

Supposedly, they are carrying repair kits that can repair some of the small damage. I don't know what size they consider "small" vs. "large". They were talking about having kits that would be capable of patching bigger stuff, but they weren't ready the first time they rolled Discovery out to the pad. They pulled it back in at one point, might have added something, for all I know.

Re:so what (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 9 years ago | (#13015082)

Are you kidding or serious? I'll pretend serious.

The shuttle has several options in the event of damage. First off, they've spent the past several years, in addition to many, many other things, developing RCC and tile repair methods. While limited, they have the ability to fix small holes. Secondly, most debris falloff (which, by the way, was not a "shuttle" problem, but a problem with almost every rocket in the world, especially LOX/LH ones, but also for LOX/Kerosene ones) has been largely reduced (near eliminated) due to using heaters instead of insulation on the bipod and developing better foam application techniques (with other large rockets are likely to copy). If there is damage, and they don't feel safe reentering, the crew is to stay housed on ISS until a rescue mission can be launched. Even still, with a Why can the X-prize competitors do what they do

I tired of having to explain this every time, so I wrote Why SpaceShipOne Never Did, Never Will, And None Of Its Direct Descendants Ever Will, Orbit The Earth. [] . Read it first, and *then* we can discuss orbital spaceflight. If your hope is "private spaceflight", you're looking at the wrong spot. You need to look at companies actually going to orbit, like SpaceX.

Re:so what (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | about 9 years ago | (#13015243)

I think I mis-expressed myself, and I apologize for the confusion. I wasn't comaring the xprize winners to the shuttle as far as the orbiting. I could have used one of the college teams that creates a solar race car on a tiny budget compared to GM with billions who can't get it done- titally different results and situations- I guess my point is, you have NASA with genius scientists, women and men who love their work, a huge budget, and nat'l security implications, and there are still problems. That was my point.
Sorry to get everyone all worked up.

Re:so what (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | about 9 years ago | (#13015102)

dude... the x-prize guys aren't launching into orbit. shit, the boundary that we use to define "space" is actually rather arbitrary; move it 50 km upwards, and the x-prize guys built really high flying funny looking planes.

Rutan's designs are proof of concept for a different approach to spaceflight. that approach is in its infancy.

the old model for going to space is infrastructure intensive... cost-intensive... it's brute force. Furthermore, because of the cost, it isn't easy to swap out infrastructure for upgrades. I'll wager that an enterprising nation can build from scatch a more modern space program than can now evolve at NASA given the same time frame. That's just the way things work.

Also, NASA is constantly inventing the wheel. Rutan's model for space flight is 50 years old. The air-force has been piggybacking rockets on jets forever. He did nothing new other than provide the template for commercialization of the platform.

Comparing the X-Prize competitors to NASA is like comparing a hare to an elephant.

OOPS! Nevermind! (5, Informative)

Gleep (1840) | about 9 years ago | (#13014863)

CNN is reporting now that they have decided to leave it out on the pad and the launch date is not threatened. I tried to notify the /. editor when I saw this posting but I was too late!

I feel bad for all those people in FL having to deal with this. I lived there a long time and never had to put up with so much hurricane activity.

Re:OOPS! Nevermind! (5, Funny)

slapout (93640) | about 9 years ago | (#13014962)

don't worry, you can try to catch them again before the dupe story is posted

Tracking Dennis (2, Funny)

dagny_dev_ (771050) | about 9 years ago | (#13014882)

Dennis and Cindy information [] . I don't see why Dennis would interfere with Cape C. I think NASA is being over-cautious, as they have been for the past few years. Then again, I am obviously not a rocket scientist. Nor am I a meteorologist. Now I'm questioning why I am even making this post! :)

Re:Tracking Dennis (1)

Evil W1zard (832703) | about 9 years ago | (#13015035)

Its not as cut and dry as it would seem when launching a space vehicle. Something as simple as relative humidity and chance of lightning strikes during launches can factor heavily into whether its a go or no-go... The weather doesn't need to be perfect to launch some of these birds, but it has to be pretty damn good and a hurricane off the coast is gonna cause foul weather afar.

Re:Tracking Dennis (1)

BlogPope (886961) | about 9 years ago | (#13015078)

I think NASA is being over-cautious, as they have been for the past few years

Like they were when they decided the cold weather wasn't an issue? Or when the decided there was no need to check for damage to the wing after the insulation/ice incident? Or perhaps when determining whether a certain measurement was in metric or imperial units?

Calling any precautions NASA takes over-cautious is a bit daft. Their margin of error is exactly zero.

Hmm... (2, Insightful)

Laivincolmo (778355) | about 9 years ago | (#13014885)

It seems to me that Mother Nature is a little bit reluctant to let her children leave home and grow up...

Re:Hmm... (2, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13014914)

On the contrary. She's forcing her children (ie. us) to grow up. That's why she's destroying 30-year-old technology like the space shuttle, thus forcing us to look forward towards new space vehicle designs.

Re:Hmm... (2, Funny)

Zeebs (577100) | about 9 years ago | (#13014943)

It seems to me that Mother Nature is a little bit reluctant to let her children leave home and grow up

Well if I, as the earth, raised a child that behaved like the human race I would be inclined to try to stop it from doing to another world what it did to me. But thats a little too conspiratorial for my tastes... No Dr. the earth is not out to get me, the earth is not out to get me... :D

This gives new meaning to... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13014903)

...the comic strip "Dennis the Menace", eh?

In related news... (5, Funny)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | about 9 years ago | (#13014907)

President George W. Bush has declared Dennis an international terrorist, guilty of violent acts in Jamaica and Cuba. In response to Dennis's threats against Kennedy Space Center he has ordered that Dennis be arrested and detained at Gitmo as an unlawful combatant indefinitely. In response to an aide's attempt to explain to Mr. Bush that Dennis was an "Act of God", Bush responsed "Well fine then, we'll go after him next."

Whew, really treading the line between -1 Troll and +5 Funny on this one.

Re:In related news... (1)

CoderBob (858156) | about 9 years ago | (#13014958)

That's freaking priceless! On-topic: Yes, better for them to have at least admitted that Dennis might be a problem than to ignore it. THink of the bad publicity if teh shuttle was destroyed- even if nobody was in it.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015000)

and I've just jumped the line to +5 insightful 8)

Re:In related news... (4, Funny)

PaxTech (103481) | about 9 years ago | (#13015006)

Dennis replied by saying "Come see the violence inherent in the system. Help, help, I'm being repressed."

Re:In related news... (1)

pizen (178182) | about 9 years ago | (#13015096)

Dennis has already made his views on Gitmo very clear. Check out this photo [] -- "High waves crash on the shoreline of the U.S. Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba on Thursday." (CNN Caption)

Re:In related news... (1)

plopez (54068) | about 9 years ago | (#13015281)

I'm sure it's nothing subsidies to oil companies, privatization or tax cuts can't solve... :)

Did you know? (3, Funny)

Evangelion (2145) | about 9 years ago | (#13014908)

I tell you, it's all the fault of the war between the Japanese and KGB [] !

Why the time pressure? (1)

rk2z (649358) | about 9 years ago | (#13014909)

Why do they have to launch in July to ensure a daylight launch? Is it that hard to meet up with the ISS?

Re:Why the time pressure? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015001)

I read somewhere that the problem relates to that time of year being gay nigger breeding season in FL.

No Delays (5, Informative)

UMhydrogen (761047) | about 9 years ago | (#13014912)

According to SpaceFlightNow [] there will be NO delays with the launch.

"NASA managers Thursday evening decided to begin preparing the shuttle Discovery for a possible roll back to the protection of the Vehicle Assembly Building should Hurricane Dennis take a turn to the east and threaten the Space Coast. At a midnight meeting, however, officials put those preparations on hold. And this morning the decision was made to cancel any rollback.

Technicians at launch pad 39B have disconnected explosive ordnance as part of early rollback preparations. At a midnight senior management meeting, however, officials decided not to continue with the list of chores to unhook Discovery from its seaside complex given a more optimistic weather outlook that keeps Dennis well away from Kennedy Space Center. Proceeding with more rollback activities overnight would have prevented an on-time launch Wednesday.

Rollback to the VAB would have to be completed before the wind reaches 40 knots (46 MPH). [It would take] about 48 hours from the time the decision is made to the time we are in the VAB. We had a weather briefing and at this point we are fairly confident we will not have to fuss with the storm, at least this one this time. It's a long hurricane season."

Oh Mister WIIIILSONNNN... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13014922)


Dennis Threatens Discovery Launch Date (1)

Alphathree (634628) | about 9 years ago | (#13014930)

Who does this Dennis character think he is?

Re:Dennis Threatens Discovery Launch Date (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13014984)

Who does this Dennis character think he is?

I don't know, but he sure is a menace.

mars probe "owns" august (2, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | about 9 years ago | (#13014940)

Every two years Mars is in the right position for a launch window of three weeks. That happens to August for a new imaging orbiter. There is one week per month suitable for the space station, and these two collide in August.

Re:mars probe "owns" august (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | about 9 years ago | (#13015085)

They don't launch from the same site .. they can probably still launch both.

Not True (1)

mikejz84 (771717) | about 9 years ago | (#13014944)

I have heard from someone who works on the Shuttle that Nasa Management in meetings does not view the storm as a real threat. However, that are making plans just in case, and to satisfy the media. No one expects a rollback as justified given the current track.

old news? (3, Informative)

skydude_20 (307538) | about 9 years ago | (#13014947)

latest launch news says they're not worried:

NASA still aiming for Wednesday shuttle launch
Hurricane Dennis isn't threatening the liftoff of the space shuttle Discovery, and NASA officials are still aiming for a liftoff next week. CE=1 []

Numa Numa Dance (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13014956) []

For those of you who are holding it in... (1)

Godai (104143) | about 9 years ago | (#13014970)

...cue the Dennis the Menace [] references.

Not to RTFA or anything but... (1)

going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) | about 9 years ago | (#13014974)

"Because the storm has ended its eastward drift and the primary track is slightly more to the west, it was decided Friday morning that Discovery will not be rolled back from the launch pad," NASA's Web site reported... So, since it looks like the storm is well and clear of the launch site and no high winds are expected at CC, they've decided not to move the launch pad. Sure they've made 'initial preparations' but it would be foolish not to. So basically the news is ... no news for now.

Dennis? (2, Funny)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | about 9 years ago | (#13014981)

Ye see a FLASK. Obvious exits are NORTH, SOUTH, and DENNIS.

-- If you give him a trinket, he will help you... *ducks*

I'm going to get hit by Dennis (1)

CypherXero (798440) | about 9 years ago | (#13014983)

I'm going to be getting hit by Dennis, I live in the southern-most tip of Alabama, in Mobile. I'm busy trying to prepare.

Re:I'm going to get hit by Dennis (1)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13015007)

I wish that you are spared the devastation such a hurricane brings. May your family and possessions be blessed.

Kalpana Chawla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015003)

Now, I wish the launch would go on schedule & everything would be a success. It has been a long time in coming.

On a personal note, this would a worthy tribute to Astronaut Kalpana Chawla who died on that tragic shuttle in 2003. She was from my country (India), did her Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from my university (University of Texas at Arlington) and her shuttle broke up over North Texas, close to UTA's campus & I saw the shuttle's faint streak across the skies that fateful day in Arlington.

Here's to you Kalpana.

"Dennis Threatens Discovery Launch Date" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015013)

Someone should stop that kid. If it wasn't enough the headaches he gives Mr. Wilson... and now this?

Hey, Mr. Wilson! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015029)


Bet (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 9 years ago | (#13015054)

hurricane Dennis is casting doubt on the shuttle's July 13th launch date.

I have a bet with a co-worker that the shuttle won't get off the ground in 2005, so here's keeping our fingers crossed.

(What, you though that the USA was still in the space race? Keep dreaming. It's all up to the Chinese now.)

Remember that time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015058)

Remember that time that the engineers on the site thought it was "too cold" to launch and that the O rings had never been tested at that temperature? Bunch of nonsense, I'm glad they ignored that! Hopefully, they'll stop being such worry worts this time and let the launch go according to plan!

i hope it does (1)

hyperstation (185147) | about 9 years ago | (#13015090)

cuz i want to see the launch, but i'm driving up the coast tomorrow and won't be able to go back up to canaveral unless they postpone it.

I'll miss the night launches (2)

krswan (465308) | about 9 years ago | (#13015124)

One of the sad things about the new (yes I know, and needed) safety requirements is the daytime launch requirement. I have seen many night launches, both from inside of the Space Center and from my home 150 miles south, and they are beautiful. Shuttle launches light up the horizon like sunrise. I will miss the sight until NASA comes up with a new heavy lift vehicle.

Dennis in Jamaica pics and video from my blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015141)

Dennis hit us yesterday. You can get some more info from my blog [] . Hopefully it won't affect Cuba too much, and hopefully NASA's launch will go off without a hitch.

No Problemo (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 9 years ago | (#13015208)

Anybody who has seen Marooned knows that all they have to do is wait for the moment that the eye of the hurricane passes over the launch pad, and everything will be be A-OK for liftoff. No big deal.

OMG! (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 9 years ago | (#13015219)

What is it with guys these days? Are they on steroids or something? I can't understand guys threatening their lunch dates. I mean, if they can't get what they want by asking nicely then they shouldn't bother spending money on a woman anyway. I mean really... how low does a guy have to be to threaten his lunch date?! ... ...

Oh... crap... I read that wrong... nevermind.

Apollo 12 (1)

Luigi30 (656867) | about 9 years ago | (#13015279)

Apollo 12 was launched in a storm and was hit by lightning, which knocked it offline for a few seconds, but they kept the mission going.

Re:Apollo 12 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13015364)

I think it was the Soviets who followed the shuttle with their lasers in their version of star wars. This rendered circuitry inoperable for few seconds & crew were blinded momentarily. US lodged complaint with USSR about the incident. Soviets did this to warn US. []
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