Latest on the launch countdown
17:26 CEST After thoroughly discussing and evaluating the piece of ice that formed on the liquid hydrogen umbilical this morning, managers have determined that it is not going to be an issue for launch. Flight control poll just completed. Everything is go for launch today!
17:23 CEST - NASA TV reports that the ice formation on the liquid hydrogen umbilical has dimished in size and is no longer an issue.
17:05 CEST - The countdown is roughly halfway through a 40-minute built-in hold at T-minus 9 minutes. The ice formation is still under discussion. The weather is looking favourable though.
16:37 CEST – Latest from KSC - We are in the beginning of the T-minus 20 minute hold. One last hold at the T-minus 9 minute mark remains before the targeted 17:38:22 CEST (15:38:22 UT) launch.
Space Shuttle Discovery's seven crew members are on board the orbiter. The hatch has been sealed, and the White Room is closed out. Team are continuing to review an area of ice on the tank.
15:58 CEST – Latest from KSC - Launch managers are looking at a report from the Final Inspection Team about an area of "clear ice" near the liquid hydrogen umbilical on the external tank. It is described as four inches long and about a half inch in diameter.
It is on a lower part of the tank and teams are working through the issue by doing a debris transport analysis. A team will go out to the pad for one final analysis and transfer photos back for evaluation. It is too early to speculate how this may impact launch. We will provide more information when it becomes available.
Weather conditions continue to be closely watched. Although observed conditions appear to be "go" for launch, the ocean breeze is forecast to roll in at 11 a.m. local time (17:00 CEST) and could bring with it some rain and clouds.
15:40 CEST – All crew members have taken their seats inside Discovery and the hatch is being closed!
14:30 CEST – ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli has taken his seat in the Shuttle’s middeck
14:20 CEST - The crew is entering Discovery one by one – Shuttle Commander Pamela Melroy is first to take her seat.
14:05 CEST - The crew has arrived at the launch pad – as is tradition they will inspect the Space Shuttle before taking a lift up to the top of the tower.
13:48 CEST – The crew have just walked out to the Astrovan – a shiny silver bus which will take them to the launch pad. There were big smiles and waves for the gathered well-wishers!
13:18 CEST - The crew is busy suiting up – this means they are being helped into their orange partial-pressure suits.