Shuttle Discovery Launches to Fully Power Space Station

March 16, 2009
Space shuttle Discovery blazes into the night sky as it lifts off Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA TV

(PhysOrg.com) -- Space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 7:43 p.m. EDT Sunday to deliver the final set of power-generating solar array wings and a new crew member to the International Space Station.

Discovery's STS-119 flight is carrying the space station's fourth and final set of , completing the station's truss, or backbone. The arrays will provide the electricity to fully power science experiments and support the station's expanded crew of six in May. The 13-day mission will feature three spacewalks to help install the S6 truss segment to the starboard, or right, side of the station and deploy its . The flight also will replace a failed unit for a system that converts urine to potable water.

Shortly before , Commander Lee Archambault thanked the teams that helped make the launch possible.

"It's truly an honor to be part of this team representing , the nation and the international partners," Archambault said. "See you in a couple of weeks."

Archambault is joined on STS-119 by Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, John Phillips and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will replace crew member Sandra Magnus, who has been aboard the station for more than four months. He will return to Earth during the next station shuttle mission, STS-127, targeted to launch in June 2009.

Former science teachers Acaba and Arnold are now fully-trained NASA . They are making their first journey to orbit on the mission and will to step outside the station to conduct critical spacewalking tasks.

Discovery's launch was postponed Wednesday, March 11, after a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system was detected during fueling. Technicians rebuilt and replaced seals and other components associated with the system. No leaks were detected during the Sunday's fueling.

More information: www.nasa.gov/shuttle

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

Explore further: Space shuttle launch rescheduled

Related Stories

Space shuttle launch rescheduled

January 29, 2007

NASA says the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station on mission STS-117 will occur March 15 -- one day earlier than planned.

Space Shuttle Closer to Launch

February 14, 2007

Space Shuttle Atlantis was mated to the orange external tank and twin solid rocket boosters last week. The entire assembly is stacked on the mobile launcher platform and is targeted to roll out to Launch Pad 39A on February ...

Atlantis Returns to Kennedy Space Center

July 3, 2007

The space shuttle Atlantis and its seven-member crew lifted off Friday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 7:38 p.m. EDT to continue construction of the International Space Station.

NASA Gives 'Go' for Space Shuttle Launch on March 11

March 6, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA managers completed a review Friday of space shuttle Discovery's readiness for flight and selected the official launch date for the STS-119 mission. Commander Lee Archambault and his six crewmates are ...

Recommended for you

At Saturn, one of these rings is not like the others

September 2, 2015

When the sun set on Saturn's rings in August 2009, scientists on NASA's Cassini mission were watching closely. It was the equinox—one of two times in the Saturnian year when the sun illuminates the planet's enormous ring ...

Prawn Nebula: Cosmic recycling

September 2, 2015

Dominating this image is part of the nebula Gum 56, illuminated by the hot bright young stars that were born within it. For millions of years stars have been created out of the gas in this nebula, material which is later ...

Comet Hitchhiker would take tour of small bodies

September 2, 2015

Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn't easy. You have to figure out how to land your spacecraft safely and then get it on its way to the next destination. The landing part is especially tricky for asteroids ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.