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Space shuttle – Go for launch!

WITH THE VERY LAST SPACE SHUTTLE flight upon us, it’s timely to take a look at just what happens during preparations for a launch. In this remarkable video made by a team of photographers from Air & Space Magazine, we see the shuttle Discovery being moved from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the giant Vehicle Assembly Building, where it is lifted upright and mated to its fuel tank and booster rockets. It is then moved to the launch pad and … we have lift-off!

This was Discovery‘s second-last flight, STS-131, in April 2010.

Please note that the video is silent until the moment of lift-off.

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Shuttle highlights video

Space shuttle Discovery roared into space on April 5 on mission STS-131 to the International Space Station.

Commanded by Alan Poindexter, the STS-131 crew also included James P. Dutton Jr., who served as the pilot; mission specialists Rick Mastracchio, Clayton Anderson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki.

Discovery delivered a multi-purpose logistics module filled with science racks that were transferred to laboratories on the International Space Station.

The mission featured three spacewalks performed by Mastracchio and Anderson. They replaced an ammonia tank assembly, retrieved a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior and swapped a “rate gyro assembly” on the S0 element of the station’s truss.

STS-131 was the 33rd shuttle mission to the station.

Adapted from information issued by NASA.