April 5, 2010 by Post Team
Space Shuttle:Lighting the sky before dawn, the shuttle Discovery left the darkness into the light of the rising sun early Monday, put on a spectacular show sky like distant thunder on a space mission to resupply the station.
Carrying a crew of seven and 10 tons of supplies and equipment, the Discovery lifted off from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 6:21 am EDT after a smooth countdown.
Riding on a column of fire by land twin propellers of the ship of solid fuel, fuel loaded ship 4.5 million pounds accelerated through 100 km / h – with a straight back – in just seven seconds, majestic roll about to line up in a northeast trajectory parallel to the East Coast.
The launch was scheduled for the moment Earth’s rotation moved the pad in line with the orbit of the space station’s Destiny. The laboratory complex striped over Florida spaceport 15 minutes before liftoff of Discovery, a bright white moving through space at 5 miles per second.
Discovery’s climb to orbit without incident showed no obvious signs of problems. A camera mounted on the side of the ship’s external tank showed a few pieces of insulating foam falling alleged midway through the ascent, but it was long after the period in which the waste poses a serious threat in the thermal shield ferry.
The crew will conduct a detailed inspection of the shuttle‘s nose cap and wing panel edge early Tuesday. If all goes well, commander Alan G. Poindexter, a Navy captain and pilot James P. Dutton an Air Force colonel, will guide the spacecraft to a docking with the space station about 3:44 a.m. Wednesday.
Waiting to welcome seven shuttle fliers, the station is five men, one woman, the Expedition 23 crew, including two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut who arrived at the lab early Sunday aboard Russian spacecraft Soyuz. The six watched Discovery’s launch on video beamed up from mission control.
“We are absolutely delighted to have our friends and colleagues to join us here in a couple of days,” said Army Col. Timothy J. Creamer through the radio station.
“Be prepared for a knock on the door,” said a flight controller.
Discovery’s mission is one of the end of the four flights carrying NASA as the space agency races to complete the international laboratory before retiring the orbiter later this year.
The station is almost complete, but NASA is trying to save the laboratory with spare parts and equipment as a hedge against possible problems after moving to land and the station becomes dependent on smaller, less capable of Russia, cargo ships from Japan and Europe.
Discovery’s crew is to deliver 10 tons of scientific instruments, parts and supplies, including ammonia coolant, hardware experiment station astronauts sleep, a freezer and an enclosure experiment shows the camera-to darkroom Destiny module’s Earth-facing window.
Three spacewalks are planned by Richard A. Mastracchio, a veteran of the shuttle, and Clayton C. Anderson, who spent six months on the station in 2007. The men will replace one of the two cooling tanks 1700 pounds of ammonia. They also plan to develop a set of aging batteries solar array to be replaced at a future flight. Capt. Poindexter, Colonel Dutton, flight engineer Dottie Metcalf M. Lindenburger, Stephanie D. Wilson, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Mastracchio and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki plan to undock from the space station on April 16 and land back at Kennedy Space Center two days later.
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