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News From Space! » STS-124: Launch Prep For Saturday

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STS-124: Launch Prep For Saturday

Shuttle Discovery is set to launch Saturday afternoon on mission STS-124, a flight to the International Space Station. The crew of 7 will be delivering the second piece of Japan's Kibo module to the Station, as well as one other vital piece of equipment. Oh, and make that crew count seven-and-a-half. NASA reports:

All Eyes on Discovery

Takeoff of the shuttle training aircraft. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-08PD-1470 Image: One of the shuttle training aircraft, or STA, takes off from the runway at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility. Handling the controls is the commander of the STS-124 mission, Mark Kelly. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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May 30
At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians are putting the finishing touches on space shuttle Discovery one day before its scheduled liftoff on mission STS-124. Launch is set for May 31 at 5:02 p.m. EDT.

"After months of hard work and preparation, Discovery and its crew are ready to fly," said NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding during a morning briefing on Discovery's countdown status. "All of our systems are in great shape, we're tracking no issues, and we're right on schedule for tomorrow's launch."

The weather is looking promising for launch day, according to Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. Isolated coastal showers may be in the area during the morning hours, but a sea breeze will develop in the afternoon, clearing the coast and causing any showers to move inland. There is an 80 percent chance of favorable weather at launch time.

This mission will carry the largest payload so far to the station and includes three spacewalks. It is the second of three missions that will launch components to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. The crew will install Kibo's large Japanese Pressurized Module and Kibo's robotic arm system. Discovery also will deliver new station crew member Greg Chamitoff and bring back Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, who will end a three-month stay aboard the outpost.

STS-124 Mission Information
› STS-124 Mission Summary (539 Kb PDF)
› STS-124 Press Kit (7 Mb PDF)
› Meet the Crew

Preflight pics are up at the JSC Gallery. More preflight pics and video at KSC. Discussion here. Media Resources here. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

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