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Thursday, February 24, 2011
Watch Launch/Mission Live of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133
Still On Track Today for a Late Afternoon Launch
Thursday, February 24, 2011 .
...-- Post last updated at 04:52pm CST --
(02/23/2011) - JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Houston - STS133-S-002 - Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch-and-entry suits, these six astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-133 crew portrait. Pictured are NASA astronauts Steve Lindsey (center right) and Eric Boe (center left), commander and pilot, respectively; along with astronauts (from left) Alvin Drew, Nicole Stott, Michael Barratt and Steve Bowen, all mission specialists. Bowen replaces astronaut Tim Kopra, who was injured in a bicycle accident in January 2011.
Photo Credit: NASA . ***********************
Are You Ready To Rumble!!!?
Discovery still on track to RUMBLE off Launch Pad at...
Space Shuttle Discovery has reached orbit and is on its way to the International Space Station. "Good to be here," Discovery Commander Steve Lindsey radioed soon after the three main engines shut off and the external fuel tank was jettisoned.
Discovery Thunders into Space to Begin Final Flight
Space Shuttle Discovery rode a brilliant trail of fire and smoke Thursday afternoon as it soared into orbit for an important mission to the International Space Station. The launch came after a last-minute technical glitch with the Air Force's Eastern Range that left only four seconds in the launch window and a practical limit of two seconds because of draining requirements with the external fuel tank.
"It was one more second than Mike Leinbach (shuttle launch director) needed to get the job done, so there was plenty of margin," said Mike Moses, chairman of the Mission Management Team. Still, he joked, "I could use a little less heart palpitations in the final seconds of the countdown."
Leinbach said launch simulations have conditioned the team of controllers to handle the pressures of last-second "go" decisions without jeopardizing a mission.
"This was one for the record books," Leinbach said. "It may have seemed a little rushed to people on the outside. It's a testament to the team that we have practiced for this."
The launch of the shuttle was not the only thing to happen in space exploration on launch day. Just as Discovery's tank finished being fueled, a cargo-carrying Automated Transfer Vehicle from the European Space Agency docked to the station. The spacecraft, which carried no people, launched from South America last week on an Ariane V.
"This is a pretty tremendous day in spaceflight for us," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for Space Operations. "For us to be sitting here today with both of these events occurring as they did is pretty amazing."
Special note:On Mission Day 5, (Monday) Brown and Drew will make the first of two scheduled Spacewalks. Second Spacewalk will be on Day 7, (Wednesday),if all goes to plan... Be sure to check back... Will be showing the whole thing live with NASA TV!