As the mission management team goes into its afternoon meeting, the press pool is sitting around, speculating on whether they’ll shoot Friday. There are arguments for and against, but one thing seems clear: if they need to replace the fuel cell, they’ll think seriously about launching later in the month—even if that means launching at night.
Wayne Hale says that the lack of daylight won’t dramatically affect safety because they’ve already taken enough data, and if they are forced to launch in late September then it would be too late to use additional imagery to plan modifications to the external fuel tank.
Meanwhile, Florida Today, a local paper, has a blog entry on the Atlantis’s new nickname among the shuttle ground crew. They’re calling it “The Penguin.” Why?
Because it’s black and white and doesn’t fly.