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Shuttle launches tonight (hopefully!)

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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…

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/nasa/index.html

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

The faraway hills of Endeavour – in colour!

Go here to see an image I’ve made showing the distant hills of Endeavour in colour…

http://roadtoendeavour.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/the-hills-of-endeavour-in-colour

Messy Spirit!

Looks like Spirit has been having a fine old time in the dust next to and beneath Homeplate! Look what a mess she’s made!

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Click on that image to bring up the full size version – you really will want to reach out and touch the rocks in the foreground…! 🙂

By the way, if you want to know what it’s like to drive a Mars rover, you absolutely HAVE to read the transcript of a Facebook Chat JPL’s Scott Maxwell did last week. It’s informative and inspiring stuff. Scott, you’re rapidly becoming one of my heroes… 😉

KEPLER poem

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I’ve written a new poem, all about the KEPLER mission. It’s over on my Astropoetry blog if you’d like a look…

http://astropoetry.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/to-seek

Carnival time again…

This week’s CARNIVAL OF SPACE is now online for you to enjoy. What’s a Carnival of Space? Well, it’s a round-up of stories from some of the best space blogs on t’internet, and gives you – yes, you, reading this right now – a chance to catch up with what’s been happening Out There if you’ve been a bit busy.

This week’s Carnival – the 94th – is being held over at “Out Of The Cradle“. Go take a look!