NASA Space Shuttle Discovery Prepares for Final Flight
The space shuttle Discovery has been rolled into position on the launchpad for its final flight, NASA reports.NASA announced the space shuttle Discovery's final trip to Launch Pad 39A is complete. Discovery began the 3.4-mile rollout from Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building on Sept. 20 and rolled into place on the launch pad early Sept. 21, NASA reported. Discovery's STS-133 mission is targeted to launch to the International Space Station on Nov. 1 on Discovery's last scheduled flight before it is retired. Two spacewalks (EVAs) are also scheduled during the flight. During space shuttle Discovery's final spaceflight, the STS-133 crewmembers will take spare parts to the International Space Station along with the Express Logistics Carrier-4 (ELC). The ELC is an unpressurized attached payload project for the ISS that provides mechanical mounting surfaces, electrical power and command and data handling services for science experiments on the space station. An ELC provides scientists with a platform and infrastructure to deploy experiments in the vacuum of space without requiring a separate dedicated Earth-orbiting satellite.
The STS-133 crewmembers are Commander Steven Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Michael Barratt, Tim Kopra and Nicole Stott. This will be the 35th shuttle mission to the station, NASA reported. The space shuttle is also set to carry SpaceX's DragonEye (DE) relative navigation sensor on STS-133. The sensor is expected to be installed two weeks later than planned, following a laser rod failure during testing. In addition, STS-133 will be carrying the signatures of more than 500,000 students who are participating in the 2010 Student Signatures in Space program, which is jointly sponsored by NASA and Lockheed Martin.