Mission Elapsed Time

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Mission Elapsed Time (MET) is used by NASA during their space missions, most notably during their Space Shuttle missions. Because so much of the mission depends on the time of launch, all events after launch are scheduled on the Mission Elapsed Time. This avoids constant rescheduling of events in case the launchtime slips. The MET-clock is set to zero at the moment of liftoff and counts forward in normal days, hours, minutes, and seconds. For example, 2/03:45:18 MET means it has been 2 days, 3 hours, 45 minutes, and 18 seconds since liftoff.[1][2]

The International Space Station (ISS) does not use an MET clock since it is a "permanent" and international mission. The ISS observes Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT). When the shuttle visited ISS the ISS-crew usually adjusted their workday to the MET clock to make work together easier. The shuttles also had UTC clocks so that the astronauts could easily figure out what the "official" time aboard ISS was.[3]

In 2019, a test flight of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft suffered a mission anomaly through an incorrectly set Mission Elapsed Time on the vehicle.[4]


  1. ^ "Mission Elapsed Time explained". 1995-09-13. Archived from the original on 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  2. ^ "Ask the STS-113 crew: Question 14". 2002-12-07. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  3. ^ Eds Musings from Space Expedition 7 astronaut Ed Lu, Updated: 09/08/2003 Accessed August 2007
  4. ^ Burghardt, Thomas (2019-12-23). "OFT Starliner Makes Early Landing at White Sands". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 2019-12-24.