Thursday, February 09, 2006

T-Minus 5 Minutes to HOLD DOWN FIRE!

We're in the control room and the Wet-Dress is now 5 hours into it.

T-Minus 5 minutes to the hold-down fire.

A wet-dress is where we fuel up the rocket and run through the entire count-down. Most times, we don't do a hold-down fire. In this case, we're taking it all the way to zero count-down, and starting the engine. The engine fires for about 3 seconds before aborting. At 5 seconds, it wants to lift off, so it's pretty important that everything not only work correctly, but also abort correctly.

The stressful part of a wet-dress and hold-down fire, is that the only positive outcome is the status quo.

In the previous two launch attempts, we never made it all the way to a hold-down fire, so in essence, if we make all the way to T-Zero, we're ahead. A hold-down fire was successful back in November, so it has been done, just not when it counts.

[images not uploaded due to satellite connection trouble]

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