Thursday, August 27, 2009

Delayed, again

We left Logan about 11:30, (my husband & I, his parents, & his sister), and arrived at ATK about 20 minutes before the test was scheduled to begin. Everyone had already left the visitor's center, so the police officer there told us to go until we could see the big building with a giant American flag painted on the side and the rocket laying on its side. Well, that took us to the general public observation area, & so Mom Lind asked one of the officers there if he knew where the astronaut Don Lind was supposed to go, and that we were supposed to meet Holly Lamb, the ATK outreach coordinator. The officer called on his radio, found out where we were supposed to be, got someone to cover his post, and then gave us an escort back a ways, to an unmarked road and up the hill to the VIP viewing area. When we got out of the car, the officer said to Dad Lind that he didn't give us the escort just because he was an astronaut, but because when the officer had been on his mission in Houston, he had heard Dad Lind speak.

We got to the VIP viewing area just in time for the singing of the National Anthem, and then a hold at T-9 minutes. It was just a short hold, though, and the countdown continued. During this time, we were trying to find a good spot to see from, especially for Mom Lind, who's about a head shorter than just about everyone. A lady standing in front of me noticed we didn't have passes about the same time my husband noticed her pass said "Holly Lamb." So we found who we had been looking for. They primed the motors, and the countdown got to T-20 seconds, and they called another hold. My reaction was "of course," and my husband's reaction was "anyone who was watching the clock already knew that." Holly found some chairs in the shade (it appeared to be the announcer's booth) for Mom & Dad Lind.

And then the test was canceled. One of the things that needed to be tested was gimbaling the engines. Gimbaling is how a rocket steers itself. Well, at T-20 seconds, one of the motors wouldn't gimbal. When they figure out what went wrong, ATK will announce a new test date. Watch NASA_Ares to find out more.

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