Discovery is mated with external fuel tank

September 25, 2007

Space shuttle Discovery has been attached to its external fuel tank and rocket boosters in preparation for its launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

On Sunday, technicians moved Discovery from its processing hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Kennedy Space Center. Once inside, the orbiter was rotated into a vertical position, allowing Monday's attachment of the external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters.

Discovery is scheduled to be moved to its launch pad Sunday to receive the canister containing the International Space Station's Harmony module, which will be the connecting point between the space station's U.S. Destiny laboratory, the European Space Agency's Columbus module and Japan's Kibo module.

Weighing 31,500 pounds, the 21-foot-long Harmony module will be parked in a temporary spot at the space station by the STS-120 crew, since the docked shuttle will be occupying Harmony's permanent spot.

Later, the space station crew will relocate the module to its permanent location. Harmony will be the fourth named U.S. module on the station, taking its place with the Destiny laboratory, the Quest airlock and the Unity node.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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