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Shuttle launch video

AMAZING VIDEO of NASA’s space shuttle Discovery launching on its final flight, mission STS-133, to the International Space Station.

Video courtesy NASA.

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Discovery’s final flight

NASA IS ABOUT TO LAUNCH space shuttle Discovery on its final voyage into space. The STS-133 mission will take extra equipment and spare parts to the International Space Station.

Lift-off is due at 8:50am Sydney time on Friday, February 25 (4:50pm US EST on Thursday, February 24).

The video above is a 10-minute-long NASA production that describes Discovery’s history and covers the STS-133 flight. Note that this video was produced in October 2010, before the original launch date of November 2010. Launch was delayed until this month due to a problem with the external fuel tank. Also, there has been one substitution in the crew.

The video below is a 24-minute-long NASA briefing that explains what the astronauts will be doing during the mission, and includes amazing computer-generated graphics.

Adapted from information issued by NASA.

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Discovery set to launch this week

HERE IS NASA’S LATEST video update, which—amongst other news—includes details of the last flight of space shuttle Discovery, due for lift-off at 8:50am Sydney time on Friday, February 25 (4:50pm Thursday Feb 24, US EST).

Carried aboard Discovery will be Robonaut 2 (R2), the first humanoid robot in space. Once R2 is unpacked inside the International Space Station—likely several months after it arrives—it will be initially operated inside the Destiny laboratory for operational testing, but over time, both its territory and its applications could expand.

Finally, the video below is the STS-133 mission Flight Readiness Review Briefing. It gives a lot more information about Discovery’s mission and preparations for launch. Be warned though – it is 50 minutes long, so you might need to grab a snack to keep you going.

Adapted from information issued by NASA. Image credit: NASA / Jack Pfaller.

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Shuttle launch scrubbed

Shuttle Discovery on the launch pad at KSC

Shuttle Discovery sits on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Centre. Repairs will be needed to fix a hydrogen leak and insulation problems before launch on November 30.

NASA has postponed the launch of space shuttle Discovery to no earlier than 8:05pm Sydney time (4:05am US EST) on November 30.

The delay will allow engineers and technicians time to diagnose and repair a hydrogen gas leak detected while filling the external tank Friday morning. They also will assess a foam crack on the external fuel tank’s liquid oxygen intertank flange, near the point where the nose of Discovery is connected to the tank by a bipod brace. The crack was discovered during de-tanking operations.

The leak was at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate, an attachment point between the external tank and a 7-inch pipe that carries gaseous hydrogen safely away from Discovery to the flare stack, where it is burned off.

“We always place safety first,” said NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier. “It is essential we repair this hardware before we fly the mission, and we will take the time to properly understand and fix the failure before we launch.”

The six astronauts for Discovery’s 11-day STS-133 mission will deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module to the International Space Station. The PMM was converted from the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo. It can hold microgravity experiments in areas such as fluid physics, materials science, biology, and biotechnology.

Inside the PMM is Robonaut 2, which will become a permanent resident of the station. R2 will be used to test how dexterous robots behave in space.

STS-133 also is carrying critical spare components to the space station and the Express Logistics Carrier 4. ELC 4 is an external platform that holds large equipment. The mission will feature two spacewalks to do maintenance work and install new components.

Commander Steve Lindsey leads the veteran crew, which consists of pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Tim Kopra, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott.

STS-133 is the final shuttle mission planned for 2010, Discovery’s 39th and final scheduled flight, and the 35th shuttle mission to the station.

Adapted from information issued by NASA.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz