Space Shuttle Discovery Blasts Off

Oct 23, 2007
Space Shuttle Discovery Blasts Off
Space shuttle Discovery leaps from its launch pad Tuesday morning to start STS-120. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Scott Audette

The space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew lifted off Tuesday, Oct. 23, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:38 a.m. EDT to continue construction of the International Space Station.

Launch Director Mike Leinbach said the launch team at NASA's Kennedy Space Center was able to study a potential problem of ice buildup without jeopardizing the shuttle while still launching on time.

"It was one of the cleanest countdowns we've had since I've been launch director," Leinbach said.

During the 14-day mission, designated STS-120, Discovery's crew will continue construction of the space station with the installation of the Harmony connecting module, also known as Node 2. The crew, led by Commander Pam Melroy, will conduct five spacewalks during the mission, four by shuttle crew members and one by the station’s Expedition 16 crew.

Discovery is scheduled to dock to the station on Thursday, Oct. 25. The addition of the Harmony module sets the stage for the arrival of new research laboratories from the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in upcoming shuttle missions. During the mission, the STS-120 crew also will move the station's Port 6 segment of the station's backbone, or truss, and its solar arrays to a permanent position at the end of the truss' left side.

Joining Melroy on the STS-120 crew are Pilot George Zamka, mission specialists Scott Parazynski, Doug Wheelock, Stephanie Wilson, Daniel Tani and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli. Tani will serve as mission specialist aboard Discovery and join the Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko, who arrived at the station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Oct. 12.

Tani will rotate positions with station resident Clayton Anderson. After five months on the station, Anderson will return with Discovery's crew at the conclusion of the STS-120 mission.

This is the 120th space shuttle flight, the 34th flight for Discovery and the 23rd U.S. flight to the International Space Station.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Close encounters: Comet siding spring seen next to mars

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US-Russian crew docks with space station

Sep 26, 2014

(AP)—A U.S.-Russian crew docked early Friday with the International Space Station, about six hours after launching from Russia's manned space facility in Kazakhstan.

Recommended for you

Close encounters: Comet siding spring seen next to mars

57 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —This composite NASA Hubble Space Telescope Image captures the positions of comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, which happened at 2:28 ...

Beastly sunspot amazes, heightens eclipse excitement

6 hours ago

That's one big, black blemish on the Sun today! Rarely have we been witness to such an enormous sunspot. Lifting the #14 welder's glass to my eyes this morning I about jumped back and bumped into the garage.

The formation and development of desert dunes on Titan

8 hours ago

Combining climate models and observations of the surface of Titan from the Cassini probe, a team from the AIM Astrophysics Laboratory (CNRS / CEA / Paris Diderot University) , in collaboration with researchers ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Elenneth
4 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2007
Ah, Luke's lightsaber makes its first actual journey into space...