Being cautiously optimistic paid off last night—around 10:45 p.m. local time we got word that we were “go” for RSS rollback.
Doused in bug spray, we piled off the bus to stand as close to Endeavour as possible while the servicing structure unfolded.
The process itself seems to start in slow motion, with barely perceptible shifts in the gantry as the RSS unfolds like a clamshell.
But when at last the nose of the shuttle peeks out from behind the rigging, time suddenly jump-starts, and before you know it, there stands the orbiter. This is the moment to snap closeups of the craft.
Minutes before we had to head back to the buses, the ground crew turned on massive xenon lights, bathing the shuttle in a soft crisscrossing glow that shows up blue in photographs.
As I type this, the shuttle is being fueled and prepped, and soon the crew will emerge from quarantine to head to the pad for launch.