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NASA Delays Shuttle Launch Until Monday

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the lightning-is-a-good-excuse dept.

43

rfunches writes "The Associated Press and the New York Times are now reporting that Atlantis will not launch Sunday. The delay will 'give engineers more time to determine whether one of the most powerful lightning strikes ever at a Kennedy Space Center launch pad caused any problems. The lightning Friday didn't hit the shuttle — it struck a wire attached to a tower used to protect the spacecraft from such strikes at the launch pad — but it created a lightning field around the vehicle, NASA managers said. The launch, planned for Sunday, now won't happen until at least Monday.'"

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43 comments

Video? (0)

saskboy (600063) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986299)

They must have a video camera trained on the shuttle at all times. It would be interesting if they'd release the video or stills of the lightning strike.

....lawl (-1, Offtopic)

lolfake (998049) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986312)

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Re: ....lawl (-1, Flamebait)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986348)

You know, we really need a (Score: -10000000, Delete This Shit) mod.

Re: ....lawl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15986361)

> GN AA Announces One

Honestly, why not just delete garbage like this?
Modding it down, up, offtopic or anything else is a waste of time. No need to let it live on the net forever.

lazy A/C

Re: ....lawl (3, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986476)

Honestly, why not just delete garbage like this?

Because there is no such thing as limited free posting; and no such thing as limited liability for taking responsibility for the content of posts.

KFG

Re: ....lawl (1)

MisterBates (880051) | more than 7 years ago | (#15993789)

A LAMENESS FILTER PREVENTS YOU FROM USING TOO MANY CAPS, fr@m u&ing t** m@ny $ymb@!$, or from posting the same comment twice. I've seen, you know, other people get /. warnings for posting too many A/C trolls, which disables A/C posting for several days and threatens to permanently disable it, if it continues. Instead of deleting GNAA posts, why not create another filter to prevent them?

Personally I could care less either way. I see the letters GNAA and skip the post, therefore defeating the purpose of it having been posted in the first place.

How about disabling replies to the post? If you get a reply to the post, you know you got someone fired up, therefore you know you got your message across. Without that confirmation, how do you know you are reaching anyone?

Re: ....lawl (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15994458)

Instead of deleting GNAA posts, why not create another filter to prevent them?

Well, for whatever it's worth, it's the sort of thing that a -1 rating was invented for.

KFG

Re: ....lawl (1)

MisterBates (880051) | more than 7 years ago | (#15994871)

I follow what you're saying but, maybe I'm missing something here. I can post all of the GNAA crap I want to, as long as I don't type it all in CAP's.

I guess the /. community is more tolerant of racism than it is of BEING YELLED AT.

Updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15986318)

spaceflightnow.com has updates to the shuttle and all other launches coming up.

Lighting field? (4, Informative)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986322)

The summary talked about something called a "lightning field". As far as I am aware, there is no such thing. Can someone who is more knowledgeble about this tell us something? Or is it just a impressive name for a electo-mag field?

Re:Lighting field? (4, Funny)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986353)

It's where they grow the lightning.

I like how they harvest lightning (3, Funny)

Prophetic_Truth (822032) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986549)

wow [onedigitallife.com]

Re:Lighting field? (1)

alveraan (945484) | more than 7 years ago | (#15988750)

You just struck the morning coffee in my mouth.

Re:Lighting field? (0, Offtopic)

andyh1978 (173377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986385)

The summary talked about something called a "lightning field". As far as I am aware, there is no such thing.
Haven't you seen Flash Gordon?

Re:Lighting field? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15986467)

Gordon's alive?

Re:Lighting field? (2, Funny)

david.given (6740) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986693)

Haven't you seen Flash Gordon?

I am deeply, deeply ashamed to admit that I know exactly what you are talking about.

Flaaaa-aaash...

Re:Lighting field? (4, Informative)

ddillman (267710) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986439)

From the space.com [space.com] article:

"It was certainly not a hit to the vehicle, I want to make that perfectly clear," said NASA launch director Michael Leinbach of the strike. "But you can get an induced voltage field around the lightning strike, and that's what we're looking at now."

After reviewing data from the lighting strike, engineers detected a small spike in the voltage readings from one of the three electrical buses that supply power to certain systems aboard Atlantis, Cain said. The spike - in a unit known as Essential Bus 1 BC - spanned just 80 milliseconds, but was enough to begin checks to ensure none of the shuttle's systems were compromised during the lightning strike.

Re:Lighting field? (1)

solitas (916005) | more than 7 years ago | (#15987570)

from the summary:

"...it struck a wire attached to a tower used to protect the spacecraft from such strikes at the launch pad -- but it created a lightning field around the vehicle..."

SO, then: it's a lightning protection system for the shuttle that didn't protect the shuttle systems from lightning (and a power surge)... Yup - that's nasa.

Re:Lighting field? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15988238)

I don't know...maybe you just misread the section you quoted, so I'll clarify: it didn't strike the freaking shuttle and there's currently no indications of damage! At a million-plus volts and who knows how many amps, you're bound to end up with the some stray electrons dancing around. Unfortunately, when dumb reporters try to describe it by making terms like "lightning field," people who should know better (nerds) drink it in just like they do with "web 2.0" and "people-oriented solutions." Sorry if I'm a little impatient tonight, but it's a Friday, I don't have a date, and I'm sick and tired of the freakin' holier-than-NASA attitude half the people around here have.

Re:Lighting field? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15986802)

Hell yea lightning field. . . .

Ever see Flash Gordon.

Re:Lighting field? (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986849)

This is one reason why blaming teachers for American problems is so silly. When newscaster talk about a lighting field, when real estate agents talk about square footage, when the president brags that he never reads, how can a teacher compete? The conceptual errors propagated by those who have the press are insurmountable.

Re:Lighting field? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15987572)

I understand the other complaints, but what's wrong with "square footage"? The term appears in the dictionary in that usage. That's a perfectly cromulent term.

Re:Lighting field? (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 7 years ago | (#15990041)

Your home could have 1500 square feet of floor, but it doesn't mean you'll get 8' of walls everywhere.

Re:Lighting field? (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15990603)

The last place I want an 8' wall is where a door should be ;-)

Seriously, the real estate trade has a definition of "square footage" -- that's finished, livable space. Unfinished basements don't count. Garages don't count. Crawl spaces don't count.

That said, they do tend to estimate based on overall dimensions or county assessment office records, it's not like they subtract out closets and stairways.

Re:Lighting field? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15987787)

I'm guessing they mean an EM field. Phys101 says a huge current (lightning) induces a rapidly changing magnetic field which induces an electric field and voltages in the vicinity. These voltages and hence currents in your shuttle would be bad, but you would think this is exactly what the lightning rod would protect against.

cleared for launch [time skips] delayed for Monday (3, Funny)

w33t (978574) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986325)

Seeing news move this quickly reminds me of the Futurama episode "Time Keeps On Slipping", where time was skipping forward by hours, days and weeks every few minutes.

LINDA:...Turning to entertainment news, teen singer Wendy might just be the latest
[Time skips.]
LINDA:...won three Grammys last night
[Time skips. The picture of Wendy behind her has a "2984 - 3002" caption below it.]
LINDA:...found dead in her bathtub.

Re:cleared for launch [time skips] delayed for Mon (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986876)

Of course, the episode title is likely a reference to an old Steve Miller song. [wikipedia.org]

Stills and video of strike. (5, Informative)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986352)

Still image from Camera 145 [nasa.gov] . Still image from Camera 147 [nasa.gov]

Video Real (buffering) [edgesuite.net]

Video Windows codec [edgesuite.net]

Re:Stills and video of strike. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15986396)

Cool. I'm sure it will be fine. They just need to take the SCE to aux. /Obscure? Probalby showing my nerdom here...

Ouch! (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986580)

It's probably no worse than the extreme conditions it endures in space or during re-entry, but it sure looks nasty.

Political Economy (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986995)

The video reminded me of Mark Twain's essay, Political Economy [classicauthors.net] .

jews did lebanon! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15986382)

jews did lebanon!

What happened ? (-1, Flamebait)

geantvert (996616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986400)

a phone ringed?

Johnny 5 (4, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986430)

The delay will 'give engineers more time to determine whether one of the most powerful lightning strikes ever at a Kennedy Space Center launch pad caused any problems.

That depends. Do they consider sentient robot life to be a "problem"?

Re:Johnny 5 (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986639)

Nice software, Stephanie!

Isn't this not a bad thing? (1, Funny)

WhatDoIKnow (962719) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986437)

A lightening field? That sounds like it would be beneficial to the shuttle or to any spacecraft.

What?.. What?.. WHAT?

OH! a lightning field... Nevermind.

:wq

what really happened? (0, Flamebait)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986992)

is that God decided it was time to smite Pat Robertson, but unfortunately missed by about 800 miles,... ;-)

Lightning field (1)

SiliconEntity (448450) | more than 7 years ago | (#15989744)

I was outside our building once watching one of the rare lightning storms we get in this area, when a bolt struck the flagpole in front of our building, about 50 feet away. It was the largest explosion I've ever heard, not at all like regular thunder, just a sudden BOOM!!! that was incredibly loud. I felt deaf for a few seconds but as that faded away I heard constant ringing. Every fire alarm in the building was going off. And a number of our computers were damaged. My computer's serial port stopped working, and when I pulled off the cable I saw scorch and burn marks where the cable had been attached to the computer.

Apparently this was all due to the incredibly intense EM field associated with such a nearby lightning strike. I could well imagine that the Shuttle's electronics could have been damaged by such an event. IMO they should take it down and do a thorough inspection rather than rushing to stay on schedule.

Apollo 12 (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15990638)

Apollo 12 was struck by lightning shortly after launch. Aside from a few tense moments while circuit breakers were reset, etc, it made orbit okay and proceeded on to do a pinpoint landing on the Moon (within walking distance of Surveyor III).

And they're worried about an 80 msec blip on one bus?

(Okay, it doesn't hurt to check it out. If they do find any showstoppers it says something about the relative robustness of the Apollo-Saturn stack vs Shuttle.)

A strike **before** lauch is far worse (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#15991498)

If a strike happens after launch there is no ground path so the currents involved are far smaller which means far less EM field & damage.

Being struck on the ground is far worse, but you'd hope they have adequate lightning protection built into the tower etc.

We're talking rockets, not airplanes. (2, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15992159)

Nope, you're wrong -- or you're thinking about conventional aircraft.

A Saturn V launch leaves a very nice path to ground through the ionized gas (flame) and carbon smoke (rich-burning kerosene fuel) trail it's pouring out the back end. That's why the thing got hit in the first place. To quote from a web page on the strike [aerospaceweb.org] : "As the rocket accelerated through the low-altitude rain clouds, it behaved much like a lightning rod. A bolt of electricity struck the vehicle and traveled to the ground along the column of ionized, electrically conductive gases in the rocket engine exhaust plume of the Saturn V."

(Actually it was hit twice; the first at an altitude of 6500 ft at 36 seconds into the launch, and again at about 14,500 ft at about 52 seconds)

Move the lightning away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15991495)

So they put what's basically a lightning rod on the tower, like on any tall building - but they're still worried about the proximity of the strike and the resultant electromagnetic field and maybe induced current. Why not put a helium (or hydrogen for more fun) filled weather balloon up on an earthed copper wire tether about 100 metres away from the launch gantry, and about 100 metres higher. Cheap, replaceable lightning diverter and no more proximity problems.
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