SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
LAUNCH COVERAGE NASA's Launch Blog - Mission STS-116
*NASA's launch blog was activated on Dec. 9, 2006 at 2:30 p.m. EST*
*+ View All Launch Day Videos http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts116/launch/launch-allvideos.html*
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6:41 p.m. - Welcome news from Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters: With the crosswinds improving and other weather issues having cleared up, the revised forecast calls for only a 30 percent chance of weather prohibiting launch tonight. This is a dramatic improvement over previous forecasts, which indicated a 60-70 percent chance of the shuttle being grounded due to weather.
6:35 p.m. - The only weather issue we're still following is the crosswinds problem, and it is trending towards positive. The launch team is extremely hopeful that the winds will die down enough to allow launch tonight.
6:34 p.m. - The Closeout Crew has reported that the crew module is closed, latched and pressurized, and cabin leak checks have verified the integrity of the cabin door seal. With a little more than two hours remaining before liftoff, the astronaut crew is safely sealed inside Space Shuttle Discovery, awaiting liftoff at 8:47 p.m.
6:28 p.m. - In addition to the bright lights at the launch pad, a bright orange flame can sometimes be seen inside the pad perimeter. This is actually a safety feature: The flame burns away excess hydrogen in the area so it doesn't become a toxic hazard.
6:21 p.m. - With the entire STS-116 crew safely aboard Discovery, the Closeout Crew is finishing up in the crew module. Once the Closeout Crew members have completed those last procedures, they will close and latch the crew module and depart the launch pad.