As I write this space shuttle Discovery is on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Centre, geting fueled-up ready for her launch at approx 11.43pm UT (or “British Time as it really should be known! ) tonight. Discovery was due to lift off a few days ago but a fuel leak put paid to that. However, the fuelling process is now well past the stage at where that leak occurred, so confidence is high that the launch preparations will continue to go smoothly.
This mission is a very important one because, as the mission patch shows, the shuttle and its crew will be delivering and fitting the final set of huge solar panel “wings” to the International Space Station, providing it with a lot more power, which is vital if the ISS is to host crews of 6 instead of 3, as NASA and its international partners want it to.
This will also mean it will be a lot brighter in the night sky from now on too, which will be great for all of us ISS-spotters around the world!
You can watch the lift-off live on NASA TV. There are lots of different ways of accessing NASA TV but the best quality and most reliable website I’ve found is here…
I’d start watching from around 11.15 if I were you, just to enjoy – if that’s the right word! – the incredible tension that leads up to the blast-off. And if you want to know more about mission STS-119, go here: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts119/index.html
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