Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Discovery Astronauts Arrive For Launch-Day Dress Rehearsal

Space shuttle Discovery's six-person crew flew in to Kennedy Space Center today to take part in a dress rehearsal for their scheduled Nov. 1 launch on an International Space Station assembly-and-outfitting mission.

Mission commander Steven Lindsey and five crewmates arrived at the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility after making soaring passes in T-38 training jets over launch pad 39A, where Discovery is being readied for liftoff.

"This is Disneyland for astronauts," said mission specialist Al Drew.

The Discovery crew will take part in a traditional two-day practice countdown exercise -- a Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT, in NASA lingo. With Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center fully staffed, the astronauts will don launch-and-entry suits and board Discovery on Friday for what amounts to a full-up launch day dress rehearsal.

They'll also practice emergency launch tower escape procedures and practice landings at the three-mile shuttle runway.

"We love coming down here because of the enthusiasm and the expertise and the professionalism of all the great people at the Kennedy Space Center. So it's a thrill to be down here today and we're looking forward to some great training and practicing our launch," said mission specialist Timothy Kopra.

Mission specialist Nicole Stott is one of only three former KSC workers to ascend to the NASA Astronaut Corps and fly in space.

"It is really great to be back here. This is where it really happens. To be able to have hands on with the hardware and then ultimately know that we're going to be sitting in one of those seats again launching, it's really an incredible thought for us," she said. "And for me, always when I come here I have to thanks everyone and also say it's really like coming home."

ABOUT THE IMAGES: Click to enlarge the FLORIDA TODAY images of the astronauts arriving today at Kennedy Space Center for a practice countdown and emergency training. The photos were shot by award-winning FLORIDA TODAY photo-journalist Craig Rubadoux. The full crew includes (left to right) mission specialists Nicole Stott, Michael Barratt, Timothy Kopra and Al Drew as well as pilot Eric Boe and mission commander Steven Lindsey.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool. I saw them land from across the River in Titusville.