Friday, May 30, 2008

Space Shuttle Discovery to Launch Saturday

On the agenda for this trip will be high tech toilet repairs, and the addition of the main component of the Japanese built Kibo space lab:

Image above: A technician loads replacement parts onto space shuttle Discovery for the International Space Station's toilet. The crews of Discovery and the station will install the new components during STS-124. Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-124
[...] May 29
New parts to fix an intermittent problem with the Russian toilet on the International Space Station arrived in the United States last night and were packed inside space shuttle Discovery well before dawn at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The crew of Discovery and the residents of the International Space Station will install the new parts, including a pump, during the STS-124 mission that is scheduled to launch Saturday at 5:02 p.m. EDT. The three station residents already in orbit currently are using alternatives to the toilet.

The main toilet on the station works for solid waste disposal but requires additional steps for liquid waste. It also takes two crew members and 10 minutes of maintenance after three flushes, said Kirk Shireman, deputy International Space Station program manager.

"It is very inconvenient at this time because it requires a lot of manual intervention," Shireman said.

The good news for the station is that there are no trouble signs for Discovery as it nears launch day.


Discovery's 14-day flight will carry the largest payload so far to the station and includes three spacewalks. It is the second of three missions that will launch components to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. The crew will install Kibo's large Japanese Pressurized Module and Kibo's robotic arm system. Discovery also will deliver new station crew member Greg Chamitoff and bring back Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, who will end a three-month stay aboard the outpost.

You can follow the link for updates. Here is a photo of the Discovery Crew:

You can read more about the Astronauts here. The page includes links to individual biographies and interviews for each astronaut.

1 comment:

Lucy Stern said...

Our daughter was there to see the shuttle launch. She went last December to watch the lift off but it never did take off. She got this opportunity between semesters of sumer school and took it. She had us record it on TV and she watched the launch from the causeway. I have never heard her so excited......