Friday, February 18, 2011

Discovery Launch Date Review Under Way

Discovery mission commander Steve Lindsey and his crew are in quarantine in Houston today while senior managers meet in a review that is expected to yield a firm launch date next Thursday for their International Space Station assembly and outfitting mission.

The STS-133 astronauts entered quarantine last night, an indication that Feb. 24 indeed will be the launch date selected at the conclusion of the Flight Readiness Review being held here at Kennedy Space Center. Shuttle crews always enter quarantine seven days in advance of launch.

The crew includes pilot Eric Boe and four mission specialists: Michael Barratt, Stephen Bowen, Al Drew and Nicole Stott. Stott is one of only three former KSC workers to ascend to the astronaut corps and fly in space.

The crew is scheduled to fly to KSC on Sunday.

Launch countdown preparations are continuing at KSC today. The standard pre-test briefing was conducted Thursday and NASA aims to pick up a three-day countdown at 3 p.m. Monday.

Senior NASA managers will hold a news briefing after the readiness review concludes late this afternoon. No exact time has been set for the briefing. You can watch live coverage in The Flame Trench by clicking the NASA TV box on the right side of the page.

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