It’s been almost eight years since I left the Shuttle Program but I never miss a launch. I’ll be updating this post with resources and commentary. Updates will increase in frequency as the launch nears.
Launch scheduled for 7:38 PM EST
7:49 – Atlantis is in orbit after an absolutely flawless launch. The liveblogging ends here but there will be additional STS-117 updates in the coming days.
7:46 – MECO – main engine cutoff.
7:45 – Single engine press – Atlantis can now reach orbit on a single engine.
7:43 – Negative KSC return in the event of a failure. Atlantis is hauling – and very far from the pad.
7:40 – SRBs are gone.
7:39 – Throttle up – flight looks absolutely beautiful. Can’t wait for them to ditch those SRBs.
7:38 – Atlantis has cleared the pad!
7:37 – Atlantis has control…25 seconds to go.
7:36 – “Close and lock your visors and initiate O2 flow.”
7:36 -The Ox vent hood is moving away.
7:33 – APU start. T-minus 5. 3 good APUs.
7:32 – “Mother nature has taken her shots. Now it’s our time to fly.”
7:29 – The last hold has lifted. We’re at T-minus 9 minutes. Both TAL sites should be go when they need to be.
7:26 – Clear to launch!
7:16 – CNN Pipeline is streaming free live video of the launch as well.
7:06 – Great news. The TAL site in Istres, France is a go.
6:50 – Uh-oh. Weather at the abort landing sites is currently no-go.
6:46 – This is the 28th launch of Atlantis and 118th Shuttle mission.
6:45 – T-minus 9 hold is in effect. This is the last planned hold. We’ll be counting down again in 46 minutes.
6:40 – SLF is good to go – although I hope it won’t be required.
6:33 – Coming out of the planned hold now. There’s one more hold scheduled at T-minus 9 – eleven minutes from now.
6:21 – Prospects for launch continue to look good. Blog problems resolved too. Weather is clear at at least one abort landing site and KSC. They’re still shooting for the middle of the launch window 7:38 PM.
6:17 – Ack. database errors have grounded Blogs of War. I’m off to rebuild a table that’s resulting in errors in this post and others…brb.
6:01 – We’re looking at a very high probability of launch at this point.
5:40 – Go to clse the hatch on Atlantis’ crew module just given.
When Atlantis heads for the International Space Station in June, its mission may sound a little familiar. The crew will install a new truss segment, unfurl new solar arrays and fold up an old one – all tricky stuff that’s been done on the past two missions. – NASA
Wow. This whole thing is just nuts:
Screaming and crying, Paris Hilton was escorted out of a courtroom and back to jail Friday after a judge ruled that she must serve out her entire 45-day sentence behind bars rather than in her Hollywood Hills home.
“It’s not right!” shouted the weeping Hilton, who violated her parole in a reckless driving case. “Mom!” she called out to her mother in the audience.
Hilton, who was brought to court in handcuffs in a sheriff’s car, came into the courtroom disheveled and weeping, hair askew, sans makeup, wearing a gray fuzzy sweat shirt over slacks.
She cried throughout the hearing, her body shook constantly and she dabbed at her eyes. Several times she turned to her parents, seated behind her in the courtroom, and mouthed, “I love you.”
I can’t say I feel sorry for her. She has the maturity of a four year old, her moral compass is totally squirrely, and 45 days in county (with preferential treatment) is completely survivable. Welcome to reality Paris. It can uncomfortable at times but most of us find a way to cope without access to the same privileges and resources that you have at your disposal.
TMZ has a photo of Paris Hilton sobbing in the back of a police cruiser.
Well, maybe celebrities are not above the law after all…
This huge grassroots victory demonstrates that good government is possible and common sense can prevail – if you’re willing to work for it:
A immigration bill to legalize millions of people in the U.S. unlawfully failed a crucial vote Thursday. Senate majority leader Harry Reid withdrew the bill afterwards — spelling its defeat for the year.
Despite what the left will say, loudly over the next few days, Americans are not opposed to immigration. The defeat of this bill has everything to do with bad government. You can’t cut the American people out of this discussion. You can’t re-weave the fabric of our society without our participation. You can’t limit our ability to work and provide for our families by flooding the market with the cheap labor desired by your donors. You can’t undermine our security – not now. You quite simply can not govern like this and get away with it.
It’s my sincere hope that the lessons learned from this failed measure will result in meaningful immigration reform that’s good for Americans, provides a sensible path to citizenship for those who play by the rules, and institutes a reasonable guest worker program for those who may not have come here legally but are otherwise acting in good faith. This bill did not do that.
As annoying as Reid’s refrain was, he is right: This was the president’s bill. This was the monstrous sham that President Bush tried to ram through the Senate with his pal Teddy Kennedy–subverting the committee process, attempting to cram it in before the Memorial Day holiday, rushing to limit debate, and then complaining about delays. This was the bill President Bush sent conservative-bashing bureaucrats like DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to peddle on CNN. This was the bill President Bush championed while deriding critics as fearful bigots and running away from building the fence he promised to build.
Let the Republican Revolution begin!
And predictably, instead of giving credit to the PEOPLE of this country who shouted from the rooftops that WE DIDN’T WANT IT, the whiners in D.C. (Bush included) are blaming Rush Limbaugh and talk radio.
Bush needs to give us a real proposed bill with true conservative American interpretation.
It’s over – Democrats have withdrawn the amnesty bill from the Senate floor. They say it will be gone back to in the future, but for now it’s dead. Reid gives the Senate some pity-party talk, going as far as saying his feelings are hurt. He basically says that he was shocked that the Democrats, in control of the Senate, couldn’t get enough votes.
Last update, I think. Harry Reid talked about how he gave the bill lots and lots of time, but the Republicans wanted too many amendments and too much time from the busy legislative schedule. Hmm. Funny about that. Isn’t this the same Democratic leadership that took 108 days just to pass a spending bill for our troops in Iraq? How many weeks is that? I’ll help — over 15 weeks. That’s 7 times longer than Reid wanted to give a historic overhaul of our immigration system.
Ace of Spades HQ
O poor Harry Reid
Unable to pull this coup
please kiss my beautiful round American ass, douchebag
Be proud America, you have rallied in the face of the obstinate political elites in Washington who have forgotten us. A defeat for President Bush? Yup, who cares. Biggest loser: John McCain. Pack it up, bro… you are done. Thanks to everyone who got involved and called their Senators in the past few weeks.
As far as the putative Republican crack-up is concerned, allow me to offer a dissenting theory. I have never seen the Republican Party more united than in its hatred for this bill. On one side you have George Bush, Lindsey Graham, Trent Lott and John McCain. On the other side, you have virtually every other Republican in America save the Wall Street Journal editorial board. 30 million people united against roughly 13 individuals – when you think about it, that’s pretty good unity.
ABC’s Charles Gibson fretted Thursday night over the likely impending demise of the “landmark” immigration deal as George Stephanopoulos blamed conservatives and on NBC Chip Reid faulted “extremes on the left and the right.”
The Jawa Report
Congress’s shameful attempt to ram down our throats an unpopular bill legalizing tens of millions of borderjumpers and adding them to the welfare rolls and public dole, has been defeated.
Right Wing News
I also asked my source why he thought so many Republicans had been supporting such an incredibly unpopular bill. He gave three reasons: First off, there was what he referred to as the “Rovian School of thought,” which says that passing this bill would capture the Hispanic vote for the GOP for decades to come. Next up, there’s the “Chamber of Commerce” vote. He says these Republicans were heavily influenced by business groups that want cheap labor no matter what the cost is for the rest of the country. Then there was the last group, the smallest group in his opinion, who were willing to sign onto a terrible bill just so they could say they were part of a big reform that had bipartisan support.
Yet even so this bill had far more problems than it offered solutions. But I believe that what may come out of this disaster will be a far more realistic and doable bill, and not one that was drawn up in haste.
This bill was the worst piece of legislation to come down the Senate pipe in years and the fact that it was hidden under covers and then revealed so quickly in order to try and screw over the American people is evidence enough of that.
I’ll admit it. I’m actually offended by this:
Hilton must wear a monitoring bracelet and remain at her home for another 40 days, said sheriff’s department spokesman Steve Whitmore.
Medical considerations “played a part” in the decision to offer Hilton home confinement for the remainder of her sentence, Whitmore said. (Watch Whitmore detail Hilton’s deal Video)
He said privacy rules prohibited him from giving details about the medical issues, but celebrity Web site TMZ.com earlier quoted sources saying Hilton was refusing to eat much of the jail food served her.
Although it generally pains me to agree with Al Sharpton (via Drudge) it’s difficult not to in this case:
Though I have nothing but empathy for Ms. Hilton whom I have met and appeared with on Saturday Night Live the night I hosted in 2003, this early release gives all of the appearances of economic and racial favoritism that is constantly cited by poor people and people of color. There are any number of cases of people who handle being incarcerated badly and even have health conditions that are not released.
I have served several sentences for civil rights and civil disobedience actions and I even fasted which caused health concerns to prison authorities who paid for a doctor to come see me daily rather than release me. This act smacks of the double standards that many of us raise.
Is it an issue of race? Not really, but it’s almost certainly a class issue. Wealth is a factor but I’d bet that celebrity is playing a far larger role in her release. Officials should have known that their actions, and flimsy excuses, would undermine the credibility of our justice system. They should be held accountable. The sentencing judge seems to agree:
The judge who sentenced Paris Hilton to jail and the prosecutor who pressed for her incarceration objected Thursday to her early release for an unspecified medical condition.
“The judicial process may have been improperly circumvented in this case,” said City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. “This explanation is puzzling. Los Angeles County jail medical facilities are well-equipped to deal with medical situations involving inmates.”
As does defense attorney Steve Cron:
Cron said that whether or not Hilton was treated fairly, the outcome doesn’t reflect well on the criminal justice system.
“I’m proud of the system and this makes the system look cheap,” Cron said. “It makes it look like she’s a celebrity and she got a sweetheart deal. It will further the perception that celebrities are treated differently.”
People are outraged and L.A. officials are getting a beatdown:
Los Angeles government officials are being bombarded with e-mail from Americans enraged by the early jail release of Paris Hilton. A sampling of correspondence received this morning by members of the city’s ruling Board of Supervisors can be found below. The 25 letters on the following pages appear representative of the thousands of missives flooding government officials in the wake of yesterday morning’s release of Hilton, 26, from a county lockup. The letters blast Sheriff Lee Baca’s decision to spring the heiress after only three days in custody, with one correspondent wondering how much Hilton’s family paid to secure her release. To no surprise, the word “travesty” appears in many of the letters.