Monday, December 11, 2006

Discovery launches with little fanfare

Space shuttle Discovery on its Saturday night launch

STS-116 [NASA] finally made its way into space on Saturday night. It is the first night launch since before the Columbia disaster of 2003. This latest mission will include three spacewalks to install the P5 integrated truss structure and rewire the station’s electrical system. One space walk and use of the robotic arm has already taken place in order to check the integrity of the shuttle’s heatshield. Space shuttle Discovery is due to dock with the International Space Station at 17:05 EST, Monday 11/12/2006 [01:05 GMT Tuesday 12/12/2006]. Here they will deliver a new crew member, Sunita Williams, to the ISS. She will replace European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Reiter. Whilst the shuttle mission is set to last until 18th December, Williams is set to stay for 6 months on the International Space Station [Mission Page]. Expedition 14 has been in progress for a little over 84 days [Expedition 14] and currently consists of Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Flight Commander Mikhail Tyurin, and Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter. Additionally there is the back up crew consisting of Astronaut Peggy Whitson [backup commander], Astronaut Clay Anderson [backup flight engineer] and Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko [backup Soyuz commander and flight engineer] who wait back on Earth. Continuing coverage of this and other missions can be seen on NASA TV . Most news broadcasters have scant coverage of the continuing missions into space.

No comments: