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Space Shuttle Discovery Ready To Launch

By | February 2, 2009

      Space Shuttle Discovery is poised to launch next week on the STS-119 Mission to the International Space Station.

      Discovery will rise at 7:32 a.m. ET Feb. 12 (Thursday) from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

      The shuttle will deliver the fourth starboard truss segment to the space station, as NASA attempts to complete building the artificial moon before shuttles stop flying by an October deadline next year, under orders from President Bush.

      STS-119 crew members are back in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at Johnson Space Center in Houston, practicing for the first spacewalk. Astronauts spend seven hours training in the water for every hour they will spend working in space during a mission.

      At Kennedy, technicians are awaiting Discovery’s gaseous hydrogen flow control valves, which are set to arrive Friday. The new valves are meant to synchronize the gas pressure between the external fuel tank and the engines, creating an even flow, and are scheduled to be installed next week.

      Technicians completed the solid rocket booster debris containment modification. This modification was performed to ensure the bolts that hold down the boosters on the mobile launcher platform safely fall back to the launch pad and away from the spacecraft at liftoff.

      Tomorrow, NASA managers will meet at Kennedy for the executive-level flight readiness review to discuss preparedness of Discovery and the ground teams for launch. An announcement will be made and broadcast on NASA TV at the conclusion of the meeting to set the mission’s official launch date.

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