After cracks, leaks, and weather delays, the shuttle Discovery is finally set to launch today after originally set for November 1. This will be Discovery’s final mission, delivering supplies and experiments to the International Space Station, after which it will be retired.
After Discovery, NASA has two additional shuttle launches on the schedule before retiring the fleet. The Shuttle Endeavor is scheduled for April 19; the crew for that flight includes astronaut Mark Kelly – husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The final flight, Shuttle Atlantis, is scheduled for June 28 (anyone want to make the trip South?). Like you, I will be at work during launch – but fear not, NASA is broadcasting the proceedings online all day at NASA TV. Here is the schedule:
- 10:15am – Docking coverage begins
- 11am – Pre-launch press conference
- 11:30am – Full launch coverage begins
- 4:50pm – Launch
- 5:45pm- Post-launch news conference
In honor of this event, a coworker…no…a friend of mine, Andrew Smith made a short music video to commemorate this event — and the video is awesome (and a lot of time was put into it) So watch it:
Discovery will spend 11 days in orbit — on top of the 352 days it’s already spent circling the planet — and will rack up another 4.5 million miles.