Fri, Jan 09, 2009
Orbiter Moved To VAB For Booster, Tank Mate
NASA is on track for its first space shuttle mission of the New
Year. At Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle
Discovery completed its journey from Orbiter Processing Facility-3
to the Vehicle Assembly Building at 3:30 pm EST Wednesday. An
earlier rollover was delayed to allow technicians to replace a tire
with low pressure and wait out a midday rainstorm.
The shuttle was fitted with a hoisting device and lifted
vertically by a heavy-duty crane late Wednesday night. It was
joined Thursday afternoon with the solid rocket boosters and
external fuel tank already inside the building's high bay.
NASA's crawler-transporter will be rolled under the shuttle
stack for the trip to Kennedy's Launch Pad 39A, scheduled for 4 am
January 14 -- the next major milestone of the STS-119 mission to
the International Space Station.
The payload, consisting of the S6 truss segment and the final
set of US solar arrays, will be transported to the pad January 11,
just prior to the shuttle's arrival.
Commander Lee Archambault will lead a crew of seven, along with
Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John
Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and Japan Aerospace
Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.
The astronauts are expected to be at Kennedy for a full-dress
rehearsal, called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test,
January 19-21. They will have the opportunity to check out the
spacecraft and payload, try on their custom-made flight suits and
review safety procedures.
Discovery's STS-119 mission to the International Space Station
is targeted for lift off 7:32 am EST, February 12.
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