Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shuttle Discovery launching for ISS trip on Tuesday

Updated on : Monday, August 24, 2009

WASHINGTON: The US space shuttle Discovery, and its crew of seven astronauts -- including one Swede -- are preparing this weekend to launch on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The shuttle is scheduled to take off Tuesday at 01:36 am (0536 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The shuttle is to deliver equipment for a new bedroom, a treadmill, a freezer, food and other supplies. It will also be dropping off the newest member of the ISS team -- US astronaut Nicole Stott.

Stott will be taking over from engineer and fellow American Tim Kopra, who has been aboard the ISS since July and is returning to Earth with the Discovery.

"Our systems are in good shape, the launch countdown preps are proceedings without much event and we have no new issues to report," said Test Director Steve Payne. "The flight crew, vehicle and the launch team are ready to go."

The mission will be the 128th for the space shuttle program, and the 30th mission to the ISS.

Once the Discovery mission is complete, just six more shuttle flights remain before NASA's three shuttles are retired in September 2010.

The International Space Station is a project jointly run by 16 countries at a cost of 100 million dollars -- largely financed by the United States.

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