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Shuttle Discovery Crew On Track For May 31 Liftoff

The STS-124 crew members pose for a portrait at NASA's Johnson Space Center. From the left are astronauts Mark Kelly, commander; Ken Ham, pilot; Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan, Mike Fossum, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and astronaut Greg Chamitoff, all mission specialists.
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) May 27, 2008
With less than a week remaining until the start of the STS-124 launch countdown, space shuttle Discovery is in place at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A. Final preparations are on schedule for liftoff May 31 at 5:02 p.m. EDT. The countdown begins May 28 at 3 p.m., counting from the T-43 hour mark.

"Preparations are going really well," Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach said at a May 19 news conference. He pointed out that Discovery's remarkably smooth processing flow will allow shuttle work crews to take off the Memorial Day holiday.

"Right now we're in great shape, and we really expect to have a good three or four days off this weekend and come back and launch."

Discovery's 14-day flight 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.

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NASA gives go-ahead for Discovery shuttle launch on May 31
Washington (AFP) May 19, 2008
NASA on Monday gave the green light to launch the space shuttle Discovery on May 31 for a mission to the International Space Station, officials said.







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