Built in Holds during the Launch Sequence

353993main_atpada-1600_800-600Being a NASA geek, I always get a little spring in my step during the time that leads up to the launch of a new mission. This week is no different. STS127 is poised on launch pad 39A, scheduled to launch at 7:17am this Saturday, with a date to the International Space Station.

If you look at the overall timeline for this project your head will begin to spin. Endeavor has been ready for weeks. It actually was sitting on pad 39B during the last shuttle mission (STS125) which traveled to the Hubble Space Telescope to make some much needed repairs. Endeavor was readied in case NASA needed to send a recovery mission to the astronauts on Atlantis.

Now of course the timeline Gantt chart for a NASA shuttle mission extends for months and even years. The crew, payload, and vehicle each have their own tasks and milestones, but they all merge together about a week before launch. The crew does a series of run throughs on the actual orbiter that is sitting on the launch pad. Finally at T-minus 43 hours the official countdown clock is initiated.

Though out the following 3-4 days, there are 7 times in which the clock stops so that the team can assess and make sure that all milestones to that point have been successfully completed. These holds can last from 20 minutes to 13 hours depending upon which hold it is and the complexity of what is being checked.
Don’t ask me how I took this leap, but as Christ made his way to the cross, he had built in holds in place.

  1. He stopped to tell the team that they were going to Jerusalem where he was going to be killed, but that he was going to rise on the third day (Luke 18:31-34)
  2. He paused before entering Jerusalem to get the everything in place for the triumphal entry (Luke 19:28-38)
  3. He paused to take the Passover feast with his disciples. (Luke 22:7-23)
  4. He paused to pray to his father on the Mount of Olives prior to his betrayal. (Luke 22:39-46)

We are now in one of the longest period of Built in Holds that we will experience. He told us that he was going to prepare a place for us and that he would be back. Even though we are in a hold, the clock is counting down. God knows the time that he is sending His Son back.

Once and for all.

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