Discovery Set for Aug. 25 Launch

Aug 19, 2009
On Launch Pad 39A, technicians check the clearance of the payload bay door as it closes around the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo and the lightweight multi-purpose experiment support structure carrier inside space shuttle Discovery's payload bay. Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Flight Readiness Review for space shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission has concluded, setting the launch date for Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 1:36 a.m. EDT.

NASA has completed a two-day review of space shuttle Discovery's readiness for flight and selected Aug. 25 as the official date for the STS-128 mission to the . Liftoff is scheduled for 1:36 a.m. EDT from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Discovery's launch date was announced after a flight readiness review at Kennedy. During the meeting, senior and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle's equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for launch pending the resolution of one remaining issue. An orbiter power controller that failed to operate properly was replaced, and an analysis was completed. The issue is expected to be closed when final data from the analysis is presented at the mission management team meeting on Aug. 23.

The readiness review included a thorough discussion about that covers the shuttle's . The foam helps prevent ice from developing when super-cold propellants are loaded prior to launch. During shuttle Endeavour's liftoff on July 15, foam separated from the intertank area and the liquid oxygen tank's ice frost ramps. The foam loss led to a detailed examination that determined Discovery is acceptable to fly.

"There was an excellent discussion on foam loss that included input from multiple teams including our NASA safety and engineering communities," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington, who chaired the day and a half meeting. "After examining the foam releases on recent flights and completing a lot of testing and analysis to improve our understanding of the relative risks, we concluded that we're ready to go fly. The teams are continuing to learn about foam and have planned additional tests and analysis to continue to improve our understanding of foam loss mechanisms and risks."

The 13-day flight will deliver science and storage racks, a freezer to store research samples, a new sleeping compartment, an air purification system and a treadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert. The name Colbert received the most entries in NASA's online poll to name the station's Node 3. NASA named the node Tranquility.

Astronaut Rick Sturckow will command Discovery. He will be joined by Pilot Kevin Ford and Mission Specialists Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas and European Space Agency astronaut Christer Fuglesang. NASA astronaut Nicole Stott will fly to the complex aboard Discovery to begin a three-month mission as a station resident. She replaces NASA's Tim Kopra, who will return home on Discovery.

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

Explore further: Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Space Shuttle Discovery 'Go' For Oct. 23 Launch

Oct 17, 2007

NASA senior managers Tuesday completed a detailed review of space shuttle Discovery’s readiness for flight and selected Oct. 23 as the official launch date. Commander Pam Melroy and her six crewmates are ...

NASA Gives 'Go' for Shuttle Endeavour Launch on Aug. 7

Jul 26, 2007

On Thursday, NASA managers set Aug. 7 as the official launch date for space shuttle Endeavour's STS-118 mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., is scheduled ...

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

Mar 06, 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 ...

Endeavour 'Go' for Launch on June 13

Jun 03, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA managers completed a review Wednesday of space shuttle Endeavour's readiness for flight and selected June 13 as the official launch date for the STS-127 mission to the International Space ...

Discovery Launch Date to be Finalized Today

May 19, 2008

Top NASA officials are gathered today at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to assess preparations for space shuttle Discovery's STS-124 mission to the International Space Station. Known as the Flight ...

NASA: progress studying shuttle tank foam

Oct 17, 2005

NASA engineers say they are closer to resolving the problem of large chunks of foam insulation falling off space shuttle external fuel tanks during launch.

Recommended for you

Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

9 hours ago

(Phys.org) —As it soared past Saturn's large moon Titan recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft caught a glimpse of bright sunlight reflecting off hydrocarbon seas.

Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

12 hours ago

Several companies are developing spacecraft designed to take ordinary citizens, not astronauts, on short trips into space. "Space tourism" and short periods of weightlessness appear to be safe for most individuals ...

An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

15 hours ago

Sputnik was launched more than 50 years ago. Since then we have seen missions launched to Mercury, Mars and to all the planets within the solar system. We have sent a dozen men to the moon and many more to ...

NASA image: Sunrise from the International Space Station

16 hours ago

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this image of a sunrise, captured from the International Space Station, to social media on Oct. 29, 2014. Wiseman wrote, "Not every day is easy. Yesterday was a tough one. ...

Copernicus operations secured until 2021

16 hours ago

In a landmark agreement for Europe's Copernicus programme, the European Commission and ESA have signed an Agreement of over €3 billion to manage and implement the Copernicus 'space component' between 2014 ...

User comments : 0

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.