Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Shuttle TAL Support Net Up - Countdown to Launch Begun

Image above: The astronauts who will fly mission STS-122 arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at about 12:30 Monday afternoon. The crew is commanded by Steve Frick, right. Others in the crew include Alan Poindexter, Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim, Hans Schlegel, Stan Love and Leopold Eyharts. Photo credit: NASA

The Trans Atlantic UHF Milsat support net has been spotted on 261.575 MHz this morning. Ronald Rensen in The Netherlands monitored HERKY 631 (a C-130 enroute to one of the TAL sites) on 261.575 MHz (NFM) calling any station at 0917 UTC. Some time later good comms were heard with Herky 631, Wolfhound and Wolfhound Maintenance. Back in October and August this frequency was used for the pre-launch shuttle TAL support net. In October HERKY 642 was heard working the Wolf Den on this frequency. Thanks to Ron and the Hearsat gang for this report.

The launch team at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida began the countdown Monday night for the launch of mission STS-122. Space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to lift off at 4:31 p.m. EST on Thursday to begin an 11-day mission to the International Space Station.

The seven astronauts who will perform the mission arrived at Kennedy at about 12:30 p.m. EST on Monday to begin their final preparations for the mission. Atlantis has a 10-minute window to launch so it can catch up with the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Steve Frick will command the seven-man crew during the 11-day mission to attach the European-built Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station. Frick, Alan Poindexter, Rex Walheim, Leland Melvin, Hans Schlegel and Leopold Eyharts will fly aboard Atlantis during mission STS-122.

Atlantis' primary mission is to install the European laboratory called Columbus on the International Space Station. It will take a series of spacewalks, not to mention intricate maneuvers with robotic arms on the shuttle and station to complete the task.