Saturday, January 10, 2009

Next Mission Milestone Met STS-119

In the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the joining of space shuttle Discovery, its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters continues over the weekend.

Discovery's 3.4-mile journey to Kennedy's Launch Pad 39A is scheduled to begin 4 a.m. EST Jan. 14. The trip will take approximately six hours.

STS-119's mission payload, which includes the S6 truss segment and U.S. solar arrays, has been packed into a transport canister and is set for delivery to the pad Jan. 11.

At NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston the STS-119 crew continues training for the additional powering up of the International Space Station.

Commander Lee Archambault will lead a crew of seven, along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, and Richard ArnoldJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

The astronauts are expected to be at Kennedy for a full-dress rehearsal called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT, Jan. 19-21. They will have the opportunity to check out the spacecraft and payload, try on their custom-made flight suits and review safety procedures.

Discovery's STS-119 mission to the International Space Station is targeted to lift off at 7:32 a.m. EST, Feb. 12.

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