Computer Problem Delays Endeavour's Launch : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Excerpt from story:

snip Jan 31, 2000 - 12:43 PM Computer Problem Delays Endeavour's Launch

By Marcia Dunn The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A last-minute problem with a critical computer delayed space shuttle Endeavour's launch today on a mission to map a still-unknown planet: our own.

NASA held the countdown at the 20-minute mark while engineers scrambled to solve the problem. Endeavour would not have lifted off on time anyway because of rain and thick, dark clouds.

Shuttle managers had two hours this afternoon to get Endeavour off the ground with six astronauts and 13 tons of radar equipment, but it didn't look good, at least from a weather perspective.

"See you tomorrow," Air Force Capt. Clif Stargardt, a meteorologist, jokingly told one reporter. "I don't think we'll launch."

The computer in question is needed to send signals to separate the two rocket boosters and external fuel tank following Endeavour's launch. There are two such computers on board, and only one malfunctioned. Both are required for launch, however.


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-- Carl Jenkins (, January 31, 2000


Wouldn't want to go up unless everything was working perfectly!

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From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

Here's the CNN coverage of this story, exerpt follows: Endeavour launch scrubbed following computer glitch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) -- An unexplained problem with a key computer system has forced NASA to scrub Tuesday's planned launch of the space shuttle Endeavour.

... a problem with one of two so called Master Events Controllers which relay critical commands from the shuttle's computers to jettison the external fuel tank and the solid-rocket boosters.

It is "absolutely critical that they work," according to Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore.

The suspect controller failed a routine health check as the countdown reached T-minus 20 minutes. Computers send the 65 pound, microwave-sized avionics boxes a series of commands that prompt a response. In this case the response was not what was hoped for.

"It's looking for a particular pattern of ones and zeroes. If it recognizes the right pattern you pass the health check and if it looks like the ones and zeros are in the wrong places you fail the health check," said Dittemore.

The balky Controller passed a second health check -- but that is not enough to satisfy the launch team. Until they fully understand why it failed the first test, they will not fly.

"We don't know exactly what happened to it, but we know not to fly with it", NASA spokesman George Diller told CNN.

These boxes have caused NASA headaches before. In 1984, the maiden voyage of Discovery was delayed a day while the launch team cobbled together a software patch to fix a glitch in a Master Events Controller.

And in 1995, Columbia's crew had to wait a week while technicians replaced a balky controller that failed 20 seconds before the planned liftoff...

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), February 01, 2000.

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