Noon CDT Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
HOUSTON -- The Space Shuttle Discovery raced into space this morning with an on-time launch at 10:38 CDT. Onboard are seven crewmembers led by veteran astronaut Pam Melroy. Discovery's crew will join the International Space Station’s Expedition 16 crew Thursday morning.
Melroy, Pilot George Zamka and Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson, Doug Wheelock, Scott Parazynski, Paolo Nespoli and Dan Tani began unstowing equipment and checking systems after reaching orbit.
On the way to the space station, Discovery’s crew will oversee a complete checkout of orbiter systems, including the robotic arm which will see extensive use throughout the mission beginning on Wednesday when it will be used to inspect the thermal protection system of the shuttle.
Discovery and its crew will arrive at the station at about 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday and Tani will swap places with astronaut Clay Anderson. Anderson will come home aboard Discovery after serving 4 ½ months as a station flight engineer.
The launch of Discovery on its 34th mission begins a flight that will see the space station grow in size and capability with the addition of the first U.S. pressurized module since the Quest Airlock was delivered in 2001. The Harmony module, also known as Node 2, will add 2,600 cubic feet of living and working space to the complex. It will serve as the permanent docking port for international laboratories from the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The shuttle astronauts are set to go to bed about 4:30 p.m. CDT today and awaken at 12:38 a.m. CDT Wednesday to begin their first full day in space.
As Discovery launched, the station crew, commanded by astronaut Peggy Whitson, watched live via a laptop computer as they sailed 218 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland.
Do you like what you read? Then subscribe to my blog by Email!