Friday, March 26, 2010

Discovery set for April 5 blastoff to space station

Discovery and seven astronauts are officially scheduled to blast off to the International Space Station at 6:21 a.m. April 5 -- the year's second shuttle flight and one of four remaining.

NASA confirmed the targeted launch date today following an all-day flight readiness review at Kennedy Space Center.

A press conference to discuss the decision is set for 5:30 p.m. EDT. You can watch it live by clicking on the NASA TV box at right to launch a viewer.

Participants include Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, John Shannon, Space Shuttle Program manager, and Pete Nickolenko, launch director for the 131st shuttle mission.

Discovery's crew is due to go into quarantine Saturday, and will fly to KSC next Thursday, April 1.

Led by commander Alan Poindexter, the crew includes pilot James Dutton and mission specialists Clay Anderson, Rick Mastraccio, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

During the planned 13-day mission, the crew plans to deliver about 17,000 pounds of supplies, equipment and experiments to the station, most packed into a large, cylindrical "moving van."

Anderson and Mastraccio will perform three spacewalks to replace an ammonia tank and a gyroscope device, and retrieve a Japanese experiment.

The mission's planned landing is around 8:30 a.m. April 18, if all goes according to plan.

IMAGE: Billows of smoke and steam flowed across launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center when space shuttle Discovery lifted off on the STS-128 mission on Aug. 28, 2009. Credit: NASA/Tony Gray-Tom Farrar.

1 comment:

Jerry w. said...

Can you believe we stop flying the Shuttle with nothing on the drawing board.
Saturn V is a proven Vehicle why not use the Saturn V drawings, build the vehicle then stop flying the Shuttle. The orginal project took seven years, this time we shoud be able to go to the moon or wherever in five years.