Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Visitors flood in

NASA managers have an extra problem to deal with for this last launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour - and it’s a presidential-shaped one.

At the pre-launch press briefing this morning Mike Moses (processing manager) and Mike Leinbach (launch director) were at pains to say that President’s Obama’s presence for the launch would not compromise in any way mission operations.

Air Force One will touch down on the Shuttle landing runway and will have to be moved aside just in case the runway is needed for a return to launch site abort.

The President and his family have been given a number of options as to where they can view the launch from but these will not be disclosed in advance. "I can’t tell you where it will be but I can tell you where it won’t," said Mike Leinbach, referring to his own launch director’s seat.

The Obama’s won’t be the only American’s homing in on the area for a chance to witness one of the final majestic Shuttle launches.

This part of Florida is expecting up to three-quarters of a million visitors, almost double the number who turned out to watch the final launch of Discovery in February.

The crowd estimate means that roads surrounding the centre will be blocked for hours after the launch - a major problem for those KSC workers just wanting to get home after a busy day at the office!

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