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SPECIAL REPORT
Mission Discovery

Complete Coverage: Discovery's Final Mission

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HIGHLIGHTS
Thursday, February 24
Launch Day

Discovery's Final Launch - Pad 39A 4:50 p.m. EST 2150 GMT

Friday, February 25
Flight Day 2

Shuttle Heat Shield Survey 11:05 a.m. EST 1605 GMT

Saturday, February 26
Flight Day 3

Discovery docks at Space Station 2:16 p.m. EST 1916 GMT

Sunday, February 27
Flight Day 4

Robotic arm operations In-Flight crew interviews: 2:10 p.m. EST

Monday, February 28
Flight Day 5

First Spacewalk Begins 11:15 a.m. EST (1615 GMT)

Tuesday, March 01
Flight Day 6

Astronauts Install Permanent Multipurpose Module (Space Closet) 9:45 a.m. EST (1445 GMT)

Wednesday, March 02
Flight Day 7

Second Spacewalk Begins 10:15 a.m. EST (1515 GMT)

Thursday, March 03
Flight Day 8

Shuttle Crew Gets Time Off 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT) Several In-flight interviews

Friday, March 04
Flight Day 9

Joint Shuttle-Station Crew News Conference 10:20 a.m. EST (1520 GMT)

Saturday, March 05
Flight Day 10

Leonardo Storage Room Outfitting

Sunday, March 06
Flight Day 11

Leonardo Storage Room Outfitting

Monday, March 07
Flight Day 12

Shuttle Discovery Undocks From Space Station

Tuesday, March 08
Flight Day 13

Flight Control Systems Checks

Wednesday, March 09
Landing Day

Shuttle Discovery Lands at KSC 11:58 a.m. EST (1658 GMT)

Wednesday, March 09
Landing Day Wrap Ups

Landing + 1 hr Post-Landing NASA press conference Landing + 4 hrs Post-Landing STS-133 crew press conference

UPDATES
Discovery's Last Crew Leaves Shuttle
09 March 2011, 01:16 PM EST

The final crew of space shuttle Discovery has exited the spacecraft and doffed their bright orange spacesuits after today's successful landing, ending the shuttle's STS-133 mission. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

The crew is on the tarmac at NASA's Kennedy Space Center and getting a warm welcome from NASA officials and dignitaries, including agency chief Charles Bolden.

-- Tariq Malik (@tariqjmalik)

 


Touchdown! Discovery Lands Safely in Florida
09 March 2011, 11:57 AM EST

Shuttle Discovery has safely landed for the last time at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, following a 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). After a journey of 5.3 million miles, Discovery and its crew of six astronauts touched down on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT) to complete its 39th and final space voyage, the 133rd shuttle flight and the 35th shuttle mission to the ISS.Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Since its first mission (STS-41D) launched on 30 August 1984, Discovery has spent a total of 365 days in space and traveled more than 148 million miles during its lifetime.

Commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe maneuvered the Orbiter on its fiery plunge through the atmosphere and hour-long free-fall descent back to Earth, guiding the 204,736-pound spaceplane to its powerless landing on the 3-mile long paved runway. All spacecraft systems performed as expected.

A convoy of landing support vehicles is now approaching Discovery and technicians will soon begin to 'safe' the vehicle – purging the spacecraft of its toxic propellants – to be followed by the astronauts' egress and traditional 'walkaround' of the spacecraft.

In addition to Lindsey and Boe, the STS-133 mission specialists are flight engineer Nicole Stott, Steve Bowen, Michael Barratt and Alvin Drew.

-- Roger Guillemette

 


Shuttle Discovery on Final Approach
09 March 2011, 11:46 AM EST

Shuttle Discovery is now transitioning from spacecraft to aircraft, encountering the upper fringes of Earth's atmosphere - known as 'Entry Interface' - at about 75 miles (400,000 feet) above the South Pacific Ocean as it begins its fiery descent and a long, gliding approach to the 3-mile long landing strip at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Discovery's final touchdown on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility - the 76th Florida shuttle landing - is scheduled for 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT). All spacecraft systems are performing as expected.

With the heat on its Thermal Protection System tiles building to 2,500 degrees F, Discovery will be flying on a southwest to northeast trajectory, traversing over Central America and then just west of Cuba before encountering the Florida peninsula near Sarasota on its final approach for landing to Runway 15 – the northwest to southeast runway.

Commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe will pilot the 204,736-pound space plane through a series of turns and banking maneuvers, known as 'roll reversals', to slow the vehicle for its powerless touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center.

-- Roger Guillemette

 


Discovery Re-entering Earth's Atmosphere
09 March 2011, 11:27 AM EST

Shuttle Discovery is now transitioning from spacecraft to aircraft, encountering the upper fringes of Earth's atmosphere - known as 'Entry Interface' - at about 75 miles (400,000 feet) above the South Pacific Ocean as it begins its fiery descent and a long, gliding approach to the 3-mile long landing strip at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Discovery's final touchdown on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility - the 76th Florida shuttle landing - is scheduled for 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT). All spacecraft systems are performing as expected. With the heat on its Thermal Protection System tiles building to 2,500 degrees F, Discovery will be flying on a southwest to northeast trajectory, traversing over Central America and then just west of Cuba before encountering the Florida peninsula near Sarasota on its final approach for landing to Runway 15 – the northwest to southeast runway.

Commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe will pilot the 204,736-pound spaceplane through a series of turns and banking maneuvers, known as 'roll reversals', to slow the vehicle for its powerless touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center.

-- Roger Guillemette

 


Discovery Heading Home to Florida
09 March 2011, 10:54 AM EST

Shuttle Discovery has ignited its braking rockets for the final time to start a fiery plunge through Earth's atmosphere and a long, gliding descent to the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility. Touchdown is scheduled for 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT). Weather conditions at the landing site are well within limits for Discovery’s return to Earth. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Flying upside down and backward over the Indian Ocean, STS-133 commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe just completed a 2-minute, 27-second firing of Discovery's twin Orbital Maneuvering System engines to reduce the shuttle's velocity by about 188 miles/hour, sufficient to drop it out of orbit and begin the hour-long free-fall descent back to Earth.

Still traveling at Mach 25, Discovery and its crew of six astronauts will first encounter the upper fringes of the atmosphere at about 400,000 feet above the South Pacific Ocean, following a northeasterly trajectory back to Florida. The orbiter will fly across Central America and just west of Cuba before encountering the Florida peninsula near Sarasota on its final approach for landing to Runway 15 – the northwest to southeast runway.

-- Roger Guillemette

 


Discovery 'Go' for Florida Landing
09 March 2011, 10:05 AM EST

Flight controllers have cleared shuttle Discovery for an 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT) landing at Florida's Kennedy Space Center where weather conditions are excellent for the spaceplane's return to Earth. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe have been given the 'Go' to initiate the de-orbit burn at about 10:52 a.m. EST (1552 GMT). Discovery will touch down for the final time on the first of today's two Florida landing opportunities – cloud cover and winds are within limits with some strong wind gusts blowing straight down the runway at NASA’s Shuttle Landing Facility.

Discovery's twin Orbital Maneuvering System engines will be fired for 2 minutes and 31 seconds to slow the Orbiter's velocity by about 188 mph, sufficient to begin its fiery descent through Earth's atmosphere and a gliding approach to the 3-mile long landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center. NASA astronaut Rick Sturckow has been flying landing approaches to Runway 15 in the Shuttle Training Aircraft – a specially modified Gulfstream jet that simulates the shuttle's handling characteristics – evaluating the weather conditions that Discovery will encounter on its approach and landing.

The STS-133 crew just completed "fluid loading," a process where the astronauts drink quantities of fluids laced with salt and electrolytes to rehydrate themselves in preparation for their return to Earth's gravity.

-- Roger Guillemette

 


Discovery Astronauts Close Shuttle's Payload Bay Doors
09 March 2011, 09:06 AM EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The doors of the space shuttle Discovery's payload bay were shut at 8:19 a.m. EST (1319 GMT), in preparation for the orbiter's landing later this morning. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Discovery is scheduled to touch down at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT). Current weather conditions at the Shuttle Landing Facility are looking good for today's landing. At 10:32 a.m. EST (1532 GMT), mission controllers will perform their "go/no go" poll for the shuttle's deorbit burn.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Shuttle Astronauts Prepare to Come Home
09 March 2011, 04:04 AM EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Discovery's astronauts began their 14th and last mission day with the song, "Coming Home" by Gwyneth Paltrow at 3:23 a.m. EST (0823 GMT). The song was played for the entire crew, and was selected by the station flight controllers in Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Discovery's astronauts are gearing up to land later this morning at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change):

3:23 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
6:53 a.m. EST: Deorbit preparations begin
8:12 a.m. EST: Payload bay door closing
10:52 a.m. EST: Discovery's deorbit burn
11:57 a.m. EST: Landing at Kennedy Space Center
No earlier than Landing +2 hours: Post-landing news conference

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Discovery's Astronauts Get Treated to Surprise Wakeup Call
08 March 2011, 03:45 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts began their 13th mission day with the song, "Blue Sky” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters, which was performed live in Mission Control here at NASA's Johnson Space Center at 3:23 a.m. EST (0823 GMT). The surprise live wakeup song was chosen by fans and was the top vote-getter in NASA's wakeup song contest. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

"That was terrific – we really appreciate it and congratulations on winning the contest," shuttle commander Steve Lindsey said. Lead singer Todd Park Mohr then thanked the astronauts for their bravery and courage, and wished them a safe journey home. Discovery's crew will spend today making final preparations for their scheduled landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday (March 9).

Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change): 3:23 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
5:28 a.m. EST: Flight control system checkout
6:28 a.m. EST: Cabin stowage begins
6:38 a.m. EST: Reaction control system hot-fire test
7:23 a.m. EST: Rambo experiment reaction control system burn
11:23 a.m. EST: Live media interviews
12:08 p.m. EST: Discovery crew tribute event
12:30 p.m. EST: Mission management team briefing
2:00 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
4:13 p.m. EST: KU-band antenna stowage
7:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Shuttle Astronauts Perform Final Heat Shield Inspection
07 March 2011, 10:38 AM EST

HOUSTON – The space shuttle Discovery's astronauts are using a 50-foot attachment at the end of the orbiter's robotic arm to complete a final assessment of the shuttle's heat shield. The astronauts are looking to see if Discovery's thermal protection system suffered any damage while it was docked to the space station. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

This standard heat shield survey is performed at the end of every shuttle mission, and typically lasts several hours. The astronauts will focus, in particular, on the forward portion of the shuttle's wings and the nose cap.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Shuttle Discovery Begins Journey Home to Earth
07 March 2011, 08:48 AM EST

HOUSTON – The space shuttle Discovery completed two separation burns that separated the orbiter from the International Space Station and started the two-day journey back to Earth. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

At 8:38 a.m. EST, space shuttle Discovery fired its jets to set it on a course for its return to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Discovery is scheduled to land at the Florida spaceport at 11:57 a.m. EST on Wednesday (March 9).

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Discovery Leaves Space Station After Flyaround
07 March 2011, 08:26 AM EST

HOUSTON – The space shuttle Discovery pulled away from the International Space Station by firing its reaction control system jets, following a successful flyaround. This initial separation burn begins the process of taking the shuttle away from the station on its journey back to Earth. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

"I'm really proud of what we accomplished together as a team on the space station, but also including the larger team in Houston and all the control centers around the world," space station commander Scott Kelly radioed to Discovery's crew as the shuttle departed. "The space program, doing something as complicated as this, really takes a team effort. I'd like to wish you guys a safe rest of the flight and safe landing and I'll see you back in Houston in about a week from now."

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Discovery Flies Around Space Station One Last Time
07 March 2011, 07:36 AM EST

HOUSTON – Shuttle pilot Eric Boe steered Discovery in a 360-degree victory lap around the International Space Station starting at 7:29 a.m. EST (1229 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

This so-called flyaround allows the astronauts to document the completed space station with its new additions from Discovery's STS-133 mission. This includes the Permanent Multipurpose Module and an outdoor storage pallet that were both installed during Discovery's 8-day stay at the orbiting laboratory. Shuttle crewmembers will take photos of the station during the flyaround.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Discovery Undocks from International Space Station
07 March 2011, 07:00 AM EST

HOUSTON – The space shuttle Discovery undocked on time this morning at 7:00 a.m. EST (1200 GMT). Separation was confirmed as Discovery's docking mechanism was released, and the vehicle slowly backed away from the station's Harmony node. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Space station commander Scott Kelly rang the bell as Discovery departed after eight days, 16 hrs, and 46 minutes attached to the orbiting laboratory. Once the shuttle reaches a distance of about 400 feet out, pilot Eric Boe will perform the flyaround lap around the station. This maneuver is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. EST (1230 GMT).

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Discovery's Astronauts Get Special Wakeup Call on Undocking Day
07 March 2011, 03:34 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts began their 12th mission day with the song, "Theme from Star Trek” by Alexander Courage with a special introduction recorded by William Shatner. The song was chosen by fans and was the runner-up in NASA's wakeup song contest. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

This morning, the astronauts will undock from the International Space Station, and shuttle pilot Eric Boe will perform the station flyaround. After Discovery leaves the station, the shuttle's robotic arm will be used to meticulously inspect the orbiter's thermal protection system for re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change): 3:23 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
7:00 a.m. EST: Discovery undocks from ISS
7:30 a.m. EST: Discovery flyaround of ISS begins
8:43 a.m. EST: Discovery final separation from ISS
11:13 a.m. EST: Late inspection of Discovery's heat shield with shuttle robotic arm
1:30 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
3:33 p.m. EST: Discovery shuttle robotic arm berth
4:00 p.m. EST: Mission management team briefing
7:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Discovery's Astronauts Get Special Wakeup Call on Undocking Day
07 March 2011, 03:34 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts began their 12th mission day with the song, "Theme from Star Trek” by Alexander Courage with a special introduction recorded by William Shatner. The song was chosen by fans and was the runner-up in NASA's wakeup song contest. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

This morning, the astronauts will undock from the International Space Station, and shuttle pilot Eric Boe will perform the station flyaround. After Discovery leaves the station, the shuttle's robotic arm will be used to meticulously inspect the orbiter's thermal protection system for re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change): 3:23 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
7:00 a.m. EST: Discovery undocks from ISS
7:30 a.m. EST: Discovery flyaround of ISS begins
8:43 a.m. EST: Discovery final separation from ISS
11:13 a.m. EST: Late inspection of Discovery's heat shield with shuttle robotic arm
1:30 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
3:33 p.m. EST: Discovery shuttle robotic arm berth
4:00 p.m. EST: Mission management team briefing
7:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

Shuttle Astronauts Say Final Goodbyes and Close the Hatches
06 March 2011, 04:42 PM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts and the six space station residents participated in a farewell ceremony to mark the end of the joint mission at the International Space Station. Shuttle commander Steve Lindsey and station commander Scott Kelly said a few words on behalf of their crewmembers, before Discovery's astronauts climbed aboard their spaceship in preparation to undock early tomorrow morning. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Prior to the farewell ceremony, Discovery's astronauts had some fun in the wide open space inside the newly-installed Permanent Multipurpose Module. Mission specialist Mike Barratt spun pilot Eric Boe around in the PMM during their last few minutes onboard the station.

The hatch between the station and Discovery was officially closed at 4:11 p.m. EST (2111 GMT). Discovery is set to undock from the station tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. EST (1200 GMT).

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Astronauts Make Final Preparations Before Hatch Closure
06 March 2011, 04:06 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts kicked off their 11th mission day to the song, "Space Superstar" by Prism. The song was dedicated to the entire crew by the team of flight controllers here at Johnson Space Center. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Today, the astronauts will spend the morning transferring last minute, time-sensitive items, such as medical experiments, onto Discovery to bring back to Earth. The crew will then have some time off before the six shuttle astronauts and the six station residents participate in a farewell ceremony at 3:28 p.m. EST. The hatches between the station and Discovery will then be closed.

Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change): 3:23 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
6:33 a.m. EST: Last minute items transferred to shuttle Discovery
11:13 a.m. EST: Crew off-duty period
1:30 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
1:58 p.m. EST: Rendezvous tool checkout
3:28 p.m. EST: Discovery/ISS farewell and hatch closure
4:28 p.m. EST: Centerline camera installation
6:53 p.m. EST: ISS crew sleep begins
7:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Astronauts' Busy Day Includes Unpacking, Clean-up & Repairs
05 March 2011, 03:51 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts began their 10th mission day this morning to the song, "(Ohio) Come Back to Texas" by Bowling for Soup. The song was dedicated to the whole crew from their families. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

"They do want you back in Texas," said Mike Massimino, capsule communicator (CAPCOM) here at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

"Thanks to our families who have really, really supported us from being assigned all the way through this mission," shuttle commander Steve Lindsey said. "We really appreciate them and really look forward to seeing them again."

The astronauts will primarily be busy today with space station repairs and cargo unpacking. Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change):

3:24 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
11:23 a.m. EST: Troubleshooting of Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA)
6:00 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
6:53 p.m. EST: ISS crew sleep begins
7:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Astronauts' Busy Day Includes Unpacking, Clean-up & Repairs
05 March 2011, 03:51 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts began their 10th mission day this morning to the song, "(Ohio) Come Back to Texas" by Bowling for Soup. The song was dedicated to the whole crew from their families. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

"They do want you back in Texas," said Mike Massimino, capsule communicator (CAPCOM) here at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

"Thanks to our families who have really, really supported us from being assigned all the way through this mission," shuttle commander Steve Lindsey said. "We really appreciate them and really look forward to seeing them again."

The astronauts will primarily be busy today with space station repairs and cargo unpacking. Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change):

3:24 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
11:23 a.m. EST: Troubleshooting of Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA)
6:00 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
6:53 p.m. EST: ISS crew sleep begins
7:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

Astronauts' Busy Day Includes Unpacking, Clean-up & Repairs
05 March 2011, 03:51 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts began their 10th mission day this morning to the song, "(Ohio) Come Back to Texas" by Bowling for Soup. The song was dedicated to the whole crew from their families. LIVE on NASA TV.

"They do want you back in Texas," said Mike Massimino, capsule communicator (CAPCOM) here at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

"Thanks to our families who have really, really supported us from being assigned all the way through this mission," shuttle commander Steve Lindsey said. "We really appreciate them and really look forward to seeing them again."

The astronauts will primarily be busy today with space station repairs and cargo unpacking. Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change):

3:24 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
11:23 a.m. EST: Troubleshooting of Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA)
6:00 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
6:53 p.m. EST: ISS crew sleep begins
7:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

Another Moving Day for the Shuttle Astronauts
04 March 2011, 07:19 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts awoke this morning to the song, "The Ritual/Ancient Battle/2nd Kroykah from Star Trek: Original Television Soundtrack, volume 2. LIVE on NASA TV.

Today, the astronauts will be joined by the six members of the space station's Expedition 26 for a joint crew news conference. They will spend the rest of the day transferring cargo from Discovery and the newly-installed Permanent Multipurpose Module to the station.

Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change): 4:23 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
7:08 a.m. EST: Public affairs educational event
7:33 a.m. EST: Cargo transfer begins
10:48 a.m. EST: Shuttle/ISS joint crew news conference
12:53 p.m. EST: Cargo transfer resumes
6:00 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
6:53 p.m. EST: ISS crew sleep begins
7:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


NASA Extends Discovery's Last Flight Another Extra Day
03 March 2011, 11:40 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's STS-133 mission managers decided to again extend the shuttle's mission by one extra day. Originally, Discovery was scheduled to fly an 11-day mission to the International Space Station, but with the orbiter in great shape, NASA officials opted to prolong Discovery's time on orbit.LIVE on NASA TV.

The extra day will largely be used to unpack the newly-installed Permanent Multipurpose Module – a space closet for the station's residents. Discovery will now land at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 9 at 11:58 a.m. EST (1658 GMT).

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Shuttle Astronauts Get Some Time Off
03 March 2011, 07:13 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts began their eighth mission day to the sound of "City of Blinding Light" by U2 at 5:05 a.m. EST (1005 GMT). This morning's wake up call was originally chosen for injured astronaut, and former STS-133 mission specialist, Tim Kopra. The song was dedicated to the entire crew by Kopra, who remains involved with the mission here on the ground. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

"Thanks to Tim for that," STS-133 commander Steve Lindsey said. "As he knows, he's here with us.

Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change):

5:05 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
8:08 a.m. EST: Live media interviews
8:33 a.m. EST: Cargo transfers resume
10:33 a.m. EST: Live media interviews
12:03 p.m. EST: Crew begins off-duty period
1:00 p.m. EST: STS-133 solid rocket booster video on NASA TV
5:03 p.m. EST: President Obama calls ISS
6:00 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
7:53 p.m. EST: ISS crew sleep begins
8:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

Shuttle Astronauts Get Some Time Off
03 March 2011, 07:13 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts began their eighth mission day to the sound of "City of Blinding Light" by U2 at 5:05 a.m. EST (1005 GMT). This morning's wake up call was originally chosen for injured astronaut, and former STS-133 mission specialist, Tim Kopra. The song was dedicated to the entire crew by Kopra, who remains involved with the mission here on the ground. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

"Thanks to Tim for that," STS-133 commander Steve Lindsey said. "As he knows, he's here with us.

Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change):

5:05 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
8:08 a.m. EST: Live media interviews
8:33 a.m. EST: Cargo transfers resume
10:33 a.m. EST: Live media interviews
12:03 p.m. EST: Crew begins off-duty period
1:00 p.m. EST: STS-133 solid rocket booster video on NASA TV
5:03 p.m. EST: President Obama calls ISS
6:00 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
7:53 p.m. EST: ISS crew sleep begins
8:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Astronauts Return to Airlock to Conclude Spacewalk
02 March 2011, 05:03 PM EST

HOUSTON – After a slight glitch with astronaut Alvin Drew's helmet lights, the spacewalker was advised to return to the station's Quest airlock. Fellow spacewalker, Steve Bowen, was unsuccessful in his attempts to reattach the helmet lights and was directed to carry on with his final tasks before returning to the airlock himself.

After returning an adaptor to the Russian Zarya module, Bowen made his way back to the airlock to conclude wrap up today's spacewalk. The astronauts turned off the batteries on their spacesuits at 4:56 p.m. EST (2156 GMT).

"You guys are rock stars – very impressive work today," said astronaut Nicole Stott, who directed the spacewalkers from Discovery's mid-deck.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Astronauts Can't Get Helmet Light Reattached
02 March 2011, 04:40 PM EST

HOUSTON – Spacewalker Steve Bowen had no luck trying to reattach the light apparatus on fellow astronaut Alvin Drew's helmet. After trying for several minutes, Mission Control advised Bowen to simply switch off the light and camera on Drew's helmet.Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Drew was advised to make his way back to the Quest airlock. Bowen will return to the starboard side of the station's Zarya module to return an adaptor that he retrieved prior to joining Drew on the aft end of the Destiny Laboratory. After that, Bowen will only have one more stop before he returns to the airlock himself to conclude today's spacewalk.

"Thank all you guys for the good, quick reaction, we really appreciate it," Mission Control radioed to the spacewalkers. "You guys look great out there."

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Spacewalker's Helmet Light Comes Loose
02 March 2011, 04:09 PM EST

HOUSTON – The light apparatus on spacewalk Alvin Drew's helmet came off as he was making his way toward the station's Quest airlock to stow a bag of tools. The light came loose from his helmet but is attached to a tether cable. Drew finished removing thermal insulation on the station's Tranquility module.Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Astronaut Steve Bowen, who was working on installing a couple of lens covers, is moving to Drew's location at the aft end of the station's Destiny laboratory to help him re-install the helmet light.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Spacewalkers Work Install ISS Light
02 March 2011, 02:59 PM EST

HOUSTON – Astronaut Alvin Drew completed the installation of a light on a rail cart used to transport cargo along the port side of the space station's truss. Drew will now begin work on a couple of loose radiator grapple beams on the truss. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Bowen is installing a lens cover on a camera located at an elbow joint on the robotic Canadarm 2. This cover will protect the camera from being damaged by visiting spacecraft to the station. Bowen is currently working ahead of his schedule, and Drew is slightly behind in his. As a result, NASA officials shuffled some of the later get-ahead tasks for Bowen to complete if there is time.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Spacewalkers Work on ISS Repair Robot
02 March 2011, 01:59 PM EST

HOUSTON – Spacewalker Steve Bowen successfully attached an experiment panel from the exterior of the space station's Columbus laboratory into the shuttle Discovery's payload bay. After completing this task, Bowen rode the station's robotic arm over to the Canadian-built, two-armed Dextre maintenance robot, where he will install several camera components. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Meanwhile, astronaut Alvin Drew removed thermal covering from an external storage shelf that Discovery's crew installed on the station's starboard truss earlier in the mission. Drew will then make his way to the Quest airlock to recharge his supply of oxygen. Officials in

Mission Control here at NASA's Johnson Space Center want to be sure that Drew has more than enough consumable resources to complete all of today's tasks.

On his way back to the Quest airlock, Drew will also adjust a sun shade that fell over the lens of one of the cameras on the station's exterior.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Spacewalkers Set to Retrieve ISS Panel
02 March 2011, 11:53 AM EST

HOUSTON – Astronaut Steve Bowen is getting ready to climb onto the end of the space station's 58-foot long robotic arm to retrieve an experiment panel that was attached to the outside of the station's Columbus laboratory. Bowen will fly on the end of the robotic arm to move the panel into the shuttle Discovery's payload bay, where it will be returned to Earth at the end of the STS-133 mission. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Flight controllers here at NASA's Johnson Space Center were initially concerned that some ammonia ice had floated away when spacewalker Alvin Drew vented the failed cooling pump module. Mission control officials wanted to make sure none of the highly toxic particles came into contact with either of the spacewalkers' spacesuits. After reviewing video footage, NASA officials were confident that Bowen and Drew were clear to proceed with their next scheduled tasks.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Astronauts Stow Old Coolant Pump
02 March 2011, 11:43 AM EST

HOUSTON – Spacewalker Alvin Drew completed the final task related to the failed ammonia pump module that he and his crewmate Steve Bowen moved to an external storage location during the mission's first spacewalk on Monday (Feb. 28). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Drew vented about 10 pounds of residual ammonia into space that had left inside the pump module.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Shuttle Astronauts Begin Spacewalk no. 2
02 March 2011, 10:50 AM EST

HOUSTON – Astronauts Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew switched the batteries of their spacesuits on to internal power at 10:42 a.m. EST (1542 GMT), signifying the start of today's spacewalk. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

After a short delay to address a leak that was detected in Bowen's spacesuit, the two spacewalkers floated outside the station's Quest airlock to begin the day's work. This will be the second and final spacewalk of Discovery's STS-133 mission. Today's excursion is expected to last approximately 6 1/2 hours.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Leak Found on Astronaut's Spacesuit
02 March 2011, 08:36 AM EST

HOUSTON – Astronauts Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew are continuing preparations for today's spacewalk, but during routine checks, a minor leak was detected on Bowen's spacesuit at around 8:15 a.m. EST.

Shuttle astronaut Mike Barratt and space station astronaut Paolo Nespoli noticed the leak when they were helping Bowen put on the bulky white spacesuit. The leak was traced to a faulty O-ring on Bowen's lithium hydroxide canister, which scrubs carbon dioxide from the air within the suit.

Bowen is in no danger, and NASA officials here at Johnson Space Center are now helping Barratt chase down a replacement O-ring inside the station's Quest airlock.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)

 


Shuttle Astronauts Suit Up for Spacewalk No. 2
02 March 2011, 07:01 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts kicked off their seventh mission day to the sound of "Speed of Sound" by Coldplay at 5:24 a.m. EST (1024 GMT). This morning's wake up call was dedicated to pilot Eric Boe. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

"The song reminds me of my passion for flying," Boe said. "We're ready for another great day in space."

Today, the shuttle crew will get ready for the mission's second and final spacewalk. Astronauts Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew will perform a variety of maintenance tasks outside the International Space Station. Today's outing is expected to last about 6 1/2 hours.

Yesterday, the astronauts received word that the mission management team had officially cleared Discovery's thermal protection system for re-entry into Earth's atmosphere at the end of the STS-133 mission.

Here's a look at today's schedule in space (all times subject to change):

5:24 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
7:13 a.m. EST: Spacewalk preparations resume
10:18 a.m. EST: Second spacewalk begins
11:48 a.m. EST: Experiment retrieval and replacement, and external pallet thermal insulation removal
12:38 p.m. EST: Cargo cart light installation
12:48 p.m. EST: Dextre camera installation
1:58 p.m. EST: Radiator troubleshooting
3:08 p.m. EST: Tranquility thermal insulation removal
3:43 p.m. EST: Dextre camera cover installation
4:48 p.m. EST: Second spacewalk ends
7:00 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
8:23 p.m. EST: ISS crew sleep begins
8:53 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Astronauts Camp Out for Spacewalk No. 2
01 March 2011, 07:38 PM EST
HOUSTON – Two of space shuttle Discovery's astronauts are beginning their overnight stay in the space station's Quest airlock. Mission specialists Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew will camp out in the airlock tonight starting at 7:48 p.m. EST (0048 GMT) to prepare for their spacewalk early tomorrow morning. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Bowen and Drew will don masks to breathe in pure oxygen for a time before their scheduled sleep period. The hatch to the Quest airlock will be closed, and the pressure in the compartment will be lowered to 10.2 pounds per square inch. The astronauts will sleep tonight in the module with this lowered pressure.

These steps are taken to help purge nitrogen from the spacewalkers' bloodstreams so that they are less susceptible to suffering from decompression sickness (known in common vernacular as "the bends") inside their suits during tomorrow's spacewalk.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Astronauts Enter Space Station's New Room
01 March 2011, 06:25 PM EST
HOUSTON – The space shuttle Discovery's astronauts have opened the hatches between the International Space Station's Unity node and their newly installed storage module at 6:17 p.m. EST (2317 GMT). The astronauts permanently attached the new module to the station this morning. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

The Permanent Multipurpose Module, or PMM, will act as a big closet for the station's residents to store equipment and spare parts.

After installing the PMM, the astronauts began the roughly 8-hour long process of pressurizing the module. This work was completed ahead of schedule and the crewmembers were able to enter the new storage room earlier than planned.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


No Shuttle Photo Op for Mission
01 March 2011, 12:32 PM EST
HOUSTON – Shortly after installing the International Space Station's new storage module, Discovery's astronauts were informed that a tentative plan to conduct a unique photo opportunity during the shuttle's STS-133 mission had been scrapped. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

NASA and the station's international partners were discussing the possibility of capturing a historic moment during a flyaround in a Russian Soyuz vehicle. Currently, spacecraft from the United States, Russia, Europe and Japan are all docked at the space station, and officials were hoping to take a series of photos of the rare occurrence.

In the end, however, the Russian Federal Space Agency nixed the idea due to safety considerations. Read the full story here.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Astronauts Install New ISS Closet
01 March 2011, 10:11 AM EST
HOUSTON – The astronauts successfully installed the Permanent Multipurpose Module, or PMM, to the International Space Station at 10:06 a.m. EST (1506 GMT) LIVE on NASA TV.

The large storage module was attached to the Earth-facing side of the station's Unity node. Mission specialists Mike Barratt and Nicole Stott maneuvered the module at the end of the station's robotic arm, while pilot Eric Boe and station astronaut Cady Coleman operated the space station's berthing mechanism to form the secure latch between the two components. The astronauts completed the task ahead of schedule.

The astronauts will now initiate the roughly 8-hour long process of pressurizing the PMM so that they can enter the module later today.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Astronauts Latch Onto New ISS Room
01 March 2011, 08:36 AM EST
HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts used the space station's 58-foot robotic arm to grab onto the storage module inside Discovery's payload bay. At 8:26 a.m. EST, mission specialists Mike Barratt and Nicole Stott maneuvered the arm to latch onto the module. LIVE on NASA TV.

The astronauts will now move the bulky module to its position at the bottom of the space station on the Earth-facing side of NASA's Unity node. The installation of the PMM is expected to begin at 9:48 a.m. EST.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Discovery Astronauts Gear Up for Delivery Day
01 March 2011, 06:01 AM EST

HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts started their sixth mission day to the sound of "Happy Together" by The Turtles at 5:57 a.m. EST (1057 GMT). This morning's wake up call, which was played for astronaut Steve Bowen, came a few minutes late as teams on the ground waited for good satellite coverage. LIVE on NASA TV.

Today, the shuttle crew will install a large storage module, called the Permanent Multipurpose Module, or PMM, to the Earth-facing side of the space station's Unity node. This will be the last American addition to the space station's assembly.

Here's a look at what's in store for the astronauts today (all times subject to change):

5:57 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
8:08 a.m. EST: Station's robotic arm will grapple PMM from shuttle payload bay
8:43 a.m. EST: PMM unberthed from Discovery's payload bay
9:48 a.m. EST: PMM installation begins
10:38 a.m. EST: PMM installation complete
11:30 a.m. EST: Mission status briefing
12:38 p.m. EST: PMM pressurization begins
4:23 p.m. EST: Live media interviews with shuttle crew
5:18 p.m. EST: Crew reviews procedures for second spaceflight
6:58 p.m. EST: Crew enters PMM
7:48 p.m. EST: Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew begin campout in Quest airlock for second spacewalk
8:53 p.m. EST: ISS crew sleep begins
9:23 p.m. EST: Discovery crew sleep begins

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Astronauts Return to ISS Airlock to End Spacewalk
28 February 2011, 05:23 PM EST
HOUSTON – Astronauts Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew have re-entered the International Space Station's Quest airlock to conclude today's work on the exterior of the station. Bowen and Drew turned the batteries of their spacesuits off at 5:20 p.m. EST, marking the end of the outdoor excursion. LIVE on NASA TV.

The official duration of the spacewalk was clocked at 6 hours and 34 minutes.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Astronauts Capture a 'Message in a Bottle'
28 February 2011, 04:48 PM EST
HOUSTON – Spacewalkers Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew are wrapping up their work outside the International Space Station. The astronauts have one final task to complete before they re-enter the station's Quest airlock – an experiment called "message in a bottle." LIVE on NASA TV.

The astronauts aboard the space station commemorated the start of this task by playing the song, "Message in a Bottle," by The Police. Drew will use a metal container to capture some of the vacuum of space as part of a science experiment sponsored by Japan's space agency. The metal cylinder will be returned to Earth at the conclusion of Discovery's mission.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Spacewalkers Extend ISS Rail System
28 February 2011, 04:26 PM EST
HOUSTON – Spacewalkers Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew are installing a couple rail line extensions that will allow the station's mobile transport systems to travel a bit further out onto the starboard side of the truss. LIVE on NASA TV.

The astronauts ran into some issues bolting one of the rails down on the nader side of the truss. They were advised by mission control here at NASA's Johnson Space Center to disengage both bolts and start over. They were eventually able to complete the task and are moving on to the next rail.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Spacewalkers Go for Extra Chores
28 February 2011, 03:54 PM EST
HOUSTON – Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew completed work on the space station's truss to install a wedge beneath one of the cameras located on the station's backbone.Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

NASA officials here at the Johnson Space Center polled the shuttle astronauts about whether they wanted to proceed with the so-called "get-ahead" tasks planned in the schedule if there was adequate time.

"I think we look good," said Nicole Stott, who is supporting the spacewalkers from inside the station.

After stopping to pose for some pictures, Bowen and Drew will move toward the middle of the station to install a couple rail line extensions that will allow mobile transport systems to travel a little further out onto the starboard side of the truss.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Spacewalkers Make Progress in Orbital Work
28 February 2011, 02:58 PM EST
HOUSTON – Spacewalkers Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew are making progress in the objectives set out for today's spacewalk. Bowen is finishing up operations on the end of the station's robotic arm. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

The two astronauts will next install a wedge under a camera on the station's truss. This will tilt the camera to allow for better access when a spare part is installed in that area during on a separate mission.

Before this, Drew will return to the Quest airlock to recharge his supply of oxygen, to ensure that he has plenty of margin for the remainder of the spacewalk. The astronauts are still about 15 minutes behind schedule due to the robotics delay earlier. If constrained for time, some of the tasks scheduled near the end of the spacewalk can be left off, NASA officials said.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Spacewalkers Move Old ISS Coolant Pump
28 February 2011, 01:59 PM EST
HOUSTON – After a minor setback caused by the shutdown of one of the space station's robotic work stations, Steve Bowen and Al Drew successfully transferred of a broken ammonia pump module to an external storage platform on the station's exterior. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

The station's robotic arm controls in the Cupola module shut down as station commander Scott Kelly and mission specialist Mike Barratt were maneuvering Bowen at the end of the arm. Kelly and Barratt immediately moved to a twin work station in the Destiny Laboratory to help the spacewalkers complete the task.

Bowen and Drew bolted the pump module to the external storage platform, where it will remain until it can be taken back to Earth on a future space shuttle mission. The spacewalkers will now install a tool that will allow them vent residual ammonia from inside the module on the mission's second spacewalk.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


ISS Robotic Arm Controls Shuts Down During Spacewalk
28 February 2011, 12:54 PM EST
HOUSTON – One of the robotic work stations onboard the International Space Station has shut down, forcing station commander Scott Kelly and mission specialist Mike Barratt to move to an alternate work station in the Destiny laboratory. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Kelly and Barratt were controlling the station's robotic arm, with spacewalker Steve Bowen riding on the end, from the Cupola module when the work station shut down. Barratt and Kelly elected to quickly move to the Destiny laboratory to continue the work, as teams on the ground send commands to the new work area. The delay should only last a few minutes, NASA officials said.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Astronauts Move Broken Cooling Pump Module
28 February 2011, 12:18 PM EST
HOUSTON – Spacewalker Steve Bowen set up the space station's robotic arm for the next major task of the day. Bowen and Drew will move a defunct ammonia pump module from the station's cooling system that had been temporarily stowed on an outdoor attachment bracket. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Bowen will ride on the end of the robotic arm to retrieve the pump module. The arm will be steered by station commander Scott Kelly and mission specialist Mike Barratt from inside the orbiting outpost.

The ammonia pump will be transferred to a separate storage platform adjacent to the Quest airlock and will be secured there until the faulty component can be returned to Earth on a future shuttle mission.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Spacewalkers Connect Power Cable
28 February 2011, 11:44 AM EST
HOUSTON – Astronauts Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew successfully completed their first major task of today's mission – the installation of a power extension cable between the space station's Unity and Tranquility nodes. This cable, which was connected 54 minutes into the spacewalk, will act as a backup power supply that runs between the two modules. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

The work has been progressing well so far, with only a slight glitch with Bowen's helmet camera. The shuttle crew onboard the station and technicians at NASA's Johnson Space Center have been unable to obtain views from the camera mounted on Bowen's helmet. But, the video feed is not critical to today's spacewalking objectives, NASA officials said.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Astronauts Begin First Spacewalk
28 February 2011, 10:52 AM EST
HOUSTON – Astronauts Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew exited the International Space Station's Quest airlock early, after preparations for the day's outing were completed ahead of schedule. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Bowen and Drew turned the batteries on the batteries of their spacesuits at 10:46 a.m. EST (1546 GMT). The clocks here at Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center will now count forward to track the time of today's spacewalk.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Injured Astronaut Calls Spacewalker
28 February 2011, 10:42 AM EST
HOUSTON – Injured astronaut and former STS-133 crewmember Timothy Kopra relayed well-wishes to Discovery's crew and the two spacewalkers as they continue preparations for today's outing. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Kopra, who was the mission's lead spacewalker before he suffered an injury that forced him off the crew, will provide support and guidance to the spacewalkers from mission control here at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

"We take comfort knowing you're down there watching over us," mission specialist Mike Barratt said to Kopra.

Kopra also spoke to Bowen, his replacement on the crew, and Drew, who will be taking his first spacewalk today.

"You're a good man for the job," Kopra said to Bowen.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Shuttle Crew Gears Up for 1st Spacewalk
28 February 2011, 07:30 AM EST
HOUSTON – Discovery's astronauts got their fifth mission day started at 6:23 a.m. EST (1123 GMT). The crew woke to the song, "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" by Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam, which was played for Mission Specialist Nicole Stott. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

The shuttle crew is gearing up for a busy day centered around the mission's first spacewalk. Astronauts Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew spent the night sleeping in the Quest airlock to prepare their bodies for today's excursion.

Here's a look at the day's agenda in space (all times subject to change):

6:23 a.m. EST: Crew wake up
7:03 a.m. EST: Spacewalk preparations resume
11:18 a.m. EST: Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew begin spacewalk
11:48 a.m. EST: Bowen and Drew install power extension cable
1:13 p.m. EST: Bowen and Drew move failed ammonia pump module
3:18 p.m. EST: Spacewalkers install camera wedge
5:03 p.m. EST: Japanese space agency's "Message In a Bottle" sample capture
5:48 p.m. EST: Spacewalk ends
8:00 p.m. EST: Mission status briefing
9:23 p.m. EST: Space station crew sleep begins
9:53 p.m. EST: Shuttle crew sleep begins
10:00 p.m. EST: Flight day 5 highlights on NASA TV

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


No Further Inspection of Discovery's Heat Shield Needed
27 February 2011, 06:02 PM EST
HOUSTON – Engineers completed preliminary analysis of images taken yesterday of the space shuttle Discovery's tiles and heat shield, and found no damage or areas of concern, NASA officials reported.

Close analysis was done on 302 images that were taken just before the shuttle docked at the station. In a news briefing today, LeRoy Cain, NASA's mission management team chair, announced that engineers will continue to study the images, but that no further inspection to take follow-up photos is needed.

Managers will continue their review, but are expected to clear the orbiter's heat shield for re-entry to Earth at the end the mission within the next several days.

This evening, mission specialists Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew will spend time reviewing procedures for the first of their two spacewalks tomorrow (Feb. 28). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Astronauts Settle Into Busy Work at ISS
27 February 2011, 09:16 AM EST
Discovery's astronauts are ready to begin the fourth day of their STS-133 mission. The crew woke to the song "Java Jive" by Manhattan Transfer, which was specially chosen for commander Steve Lindsey by his family. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Today, the astronauts will spend majority of the day moving cargo from the shuttle Discovery into the space station, including about 2,000 pounds of supplies and hardware from the shuttle's mid-deck. In total, about nine hours of transfer work is planned.

Here's a look at the day in space:

7:23 a.m. ET: Crew wake up
10:23 a.m. ET: Cargo transfer operations begin
12:30 p.m. ET: Mission status briefing
2:43 p.m. ET: Live media interviews with STS-133 crew
4:00 p.m. ET: Mission management team briefing
6:13 p.m. ET: Spacewalk procedure review
8:48 p.m. ET: Mission specialists Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew camp out in Quest airlock
9:43 p.m. ET: Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew sleep begins
10:23 p.m. ET: Discovery crew sleep begins

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Discovery Astronauts Move Spare Parts Platform
26 February 2011, 11:21 PM EST
HOUSTON – A series of complex operations using both the space station's robotic arm and the shuttle Discovery's arm successfully moved a storage shelf from the orbiter's cargo bay onto the station's Earth-facing starboard truss. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

The installation of the shelf, which is known as the Express Logistics Carrier-4, was completed at 10:12 p.m. EST (0315 GMT Sun. Feb. 27). The transfer work got started later than anticipated due to a slight delay earlier during docking. The crews are now preparing to go to sleep, and will receive their morning wakeup call 30 minutes later tomorrow, to compensate for the time it took to complete the installation of the storage pallet.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Discovery Astronauts Enter Space Station
26 February 2011, 04:40 PM EST
HOUSTON – The hatches between Discovery and the International Space Station were opened at 4:16 p.m. EST (2116 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Discovery's STS-133 commander Steve Lindsey floated onboard the space station at 4:36 p.m. EST (2136 GMT). Lindsey was followed by mission specialist Nicole Stott, Steve Bowen, Mike Barratt and pilot Eric Boe and mission specialist Alvin Drew.

After the welcome ceremony and a safety briefing, the shuttle and station crews will begin transferring cargo from Discovery to the space station.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Final Docking Work Delayed by Excess Motion
26 February 2011, 03:04 PM EST
HOUSTON – Discovery's crew was forced to wait about 40 minutes before driving in the bolted latches between the shuttle and the station. Due to the enormous weight of both spacecraft, there was some movement between the two docking mechanisms when Discovery came in to dock at the station. The astronauts had to wait for the motion to dampen before they could proceed.

Hard mate between the two craft occurred at 3:04 p.m. EST (2004 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Shuttle Discovery Arrives at ISS
26 February 2011, 02:35 PM EST
HOUSTON – The space shuttle Discovery has successfully docked at the International Space Station. Commander Steve Lindsey docked the shuttle at the station's Harmony node at 2:14 p.m. EST (1914 GMT), as both the shuttle and space station sailed over Australia. Before docking, Discovery did a 360-degree back flip underneath the space station, as astronauts onboard the orbiting outpost took photographs of the spacecraft's heat shield for inspection. The back flip maneuver lasted 8 minutes and 33 seconds. Lindsey then flew Discovery in front of the station and backed the orbiter into the docking port of the station's Harmony node. After a series of leak checks, the hatches between Discovery and the space station are scheduled to open at 4:18 p.m. EST (2118 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Discovery Begins Back-flip Maneuver
26 February 2011, 01:17 PM EST
HOUSTON – The shuttle Discovery is currently beneath the space station and has begun its slow back flip, called a Rotational Pitch Maneuver (RPM), to allow astronauts onboard the station to photograph the spacecraft for inspection purposes.

Station crewmembers Paolo Nespoli and Cady Coleman will take hundreds of high-resolution photos from the Russian Zvezda module, focusing in particular on Discovery's tile-covered backside. These images will be downlinked to mission control in Houston so that teams can assess the state of the spacecraft after launch, ascent and two days in orbit.

Commander Steve Lindsey initiated the back flip at 1:15 p.m. EST (1815 GMT). It is expected to take about 9 minutes to complete. Lindsey will then fly the shuttle in front of the station's Harmony node and back it into the docking port. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Discovery Makes Final Engine Burn
26 February 2011, 11:45 AM EST
Discovery's commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe performed one final engine burn shortly after 11:30 a.m. EST (1630 GMT) to put the shuttle on its final approach to the International Space Station. The burn occurred when Discovery was roughly 9 miles away from the station, and it lasted 11 seconds.

Discovery is scheduled to arrive and dock at the space station at 2:16 p.m. EST (1916 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


It's Docking Day for Shuttle Discovery
26 February 2011, 07:11 AM EST

Discovery's crew has begun the third day of NASA's STS-133 mission, awaking to the song "Woody's Roundup" by Randy Newman, a tune from the animated "Toy Story" films chosen for mission specialist Alvin Drew.

Today is docking day for shuttle Discovery. The shuttle will arrive at the International Space Station at 2:16 p.m. ET (1916 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Here's a look at today's schedule in space:

6:53 a.m. ET: Crew Wake Up
8:33 a.m. ET: Rendezvous operations begin
10:33 a.m. ET: Terminal Initiation Byrn to close in on ISS
1:15 p.m. ET: Shuttle Backflip maneuver
2:16 p.m. ET: Discovery docks at ISS
4:18 p.m. ET: Shuttle/ISS welcome ceremony
4:30 p.m. ET: Mission Status Briefing
4:53 p.m. ET: ISS Robotic Arm Grapples Spare Parts Carrier in Shuttle Cargo Bay
7:48 p. m. ET: Spare Parts Carrier attached to ISS.
10:23 p.m. ET: ISS Crew Sleep Begins
10:53 p.m. ET: Discovery Crew Sleep Begins
11:00 p.m. ET: Flight Day 3 video highlights on NASA TV

-- Tariq Malik (@tariqjmalik)


Foam Debris Strike Not Expected to Pose Concern
25 February 2011, 09:01 PM EST
A piece of foam debris that detached from the space shuttle Discovery's fuel tank and may have struck the orbiter during its Thursday launch poses no threat to the spacecraft or its astronaut crew, NASA officials said today (Feb. 25). Discovery is on track to dock at the International Space Station tomorrow at 2:19 p.m. EST. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.


Astronauts Complete Heat Shield Inspection
25 February 2011, 05:58 PM EST
Discovery's astronaut crew has completed the hours-long inspection of the shuttle's heat shield for today. The astronauts used a sensor-tipped pole at the end of a robotic arm to inspect Discovery's wing edges and nose cap, and have now stowed the inspection boom for the day. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

-- Tariq Malik (@tariqjmalik)


Up Next: Shuttle Mission Press Conference
25 February 2011, 04:26 PM EST
HOUSTON - NASA is set to hold the first daily mission press conference for Discovery's STS-133 mission. The conference will be webcast live on NASA TV starting at about 4:30 p.m. EST. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Shuttle Heat Shield Inspection Underway
25 February 2011, 02:24 PM EST
HOUSTON - Discovery's astronaut crew are continuing with their survey of the shuttle's thermal protection system. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Everything is proceeding according to plan, and the orbiter appears to be in very good shape, according to NASA officials. The astronauts are wrapping up their inspection of Discovery's nosecap, at the front of the shuttle. They will then move on to assess the port (left) wing. This will be the last major portion of today's survey.

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Discovery Crew Prepares for Heat Shield Survey
25 February 2011, 11:14 AM EST
Astronauts on shuttle Discovery have grappled the spacecraft's inspection boom using a robotic arm and are preparing to begin today's heat shield inspection.Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Here's a look at how the day will unfold in space:

11:08 a.m. ET: Heat Shield Inspections Begin, wing edges and nose cap
4:30 p.m. ET: Mission Management Team press briefing
10:53 p.m. ET: Crew Sleep Begins
11:00 p.m. ET: Flight Day 2 Video Highlights (NASA TV)

-- Tariq Malik (@tariqjmalik)


Discovery Astronauts Begin Inspection Day
25 February 2011, 07:08 AM EST
Astronauts on space shuttle Discovery have begun the first full day in space of their mission. Today is inspection day and will be dominated by a standard heat shield survey. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Mission Control roused the astronauts with the song "Through Heaven's Eyes" from the soundtrack of the film "Prince of Egypt." The song was played for Discovery mission specialist Michael Barratt.

Today is Flight Day 2 of Discovery's STS-133 mission to the International Space Station.

-- Tariq Malik (@tariqjmalik)


Discovery Crew Settles Into Life in Space
24 February 2011, 11:00 PM EST
Discovery's crew has settled into their new home for the next 11 days. The six astronauts on Discovery have opened the shuttle's payload bay doors and checked its robotic arm systems before wrapping up their first day in orbit.

On Friday, the crew will scan their shuttle's heat shield for any damage sustained during liftoff.

-- Tariq Malik (@tariqjmalik)


Discovery Astronauts Discard Shuttle Fuel Tank
24 February 2011, 05:01 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The STS-133 astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery have discarded the 15-story external tank that fed the orbiter’s nearly nine-minute launch into space. With the tank jettisoned, Discovery is now in orbit. A flash camera will photograph the tank’s departure to record any foam insulation loss. Analysts at Mission Control in Houston’s Johnson Space Center will search for any signs of foam loss during launch, and its potential as a debris hazard to Discovery’s heat shield.


Discovery Engines Shut Down as Planned
24 February 2011, 05:00 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The five engines boosting Discovery and its external tank towards orbit have shut down as planned about eight and a half minutes into flight. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

The milestone is known as Main Engine Cut Off (MECO). The spacecraft is flying toward its intended orbit, with the next major task aimed at discarding the shuttle’s external tank.

Solid Rocket Boosters Separate
24 February 2011, 04:56 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The twin solid rocket boosters assisting Discovery’s launch into space have separated as planned from the shuttle’s external tank. The reusable boosters separated about two minutes and five seconds after liftoff and fell back toward the Atlantic Ocean, where they will land under parachutes and be retrieved by recovery ships. They are equipped with cameras to record the performance of Discovery’s external tank and any foam loss seen during today’s ascent.
Liftoff! Shuttle Discovery Launches Spaceward
24 February 2011, 04:53 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The space shuttle Discovery has cleared the launch tower and gaining altitude after lifting off at about 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT). Riding spaceward aboard Discovery are STS-133 commander Steven Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Alvin Drew, Steven Bowen, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott. It should take Discovery about 8 1/2 minutes to ferry its six-astronaut crew into orbit.
Liftoff! Shuttle Discovery Launches Spaceward
24 February 2011, 04:53 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The space shuttle Discovery has cleared the launch tower and gaining altitude after lifting off at about 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT). Riding spaceward aboard Discovery are STS-133 commander Steven Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Alvin Drew, Steven Bowen, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott. It should take Discovery about 8 1/2 minutes to ferry its six-astronaut crew into orbit.
Shuttle Discovery GO for Launch
24 February 2011, 04:47 PM EST
NASA says shuttle Discovery is still go for launch, now at 4:53 pm ET. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.
NASA Watching Range Safety Issue
24 February 2011, 04:41 PM EST
NASA is still counting down toward the planned 4:50 pm ET launch of shuttle Discovery, but is tackling a range safety computer issue. NASA hopes to have the problem solved by the T-5 minute mark. If so, the shuttle will launch as planned.
Discovery Readied for Afternoon Launch
24 February 2011, 04:15 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The space shuttle's hatch has been closed and latched for flight, the six STS-133 astronauts are strapped into their seats and final preparations are under way for Discovery's late-afternoon liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center. Discovery's preferred launch time is scheduled for 4:50:27 p.m. EST (2150:27 GMT).Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

A minor tile repair on the orbiter's hatch was completed by the close-out crew without any impact to launch. The countdown clock has ticked down to the T-minus 9-minute hold – a scheduled built-in hold lasting approx. 45 minutes.

The space center's VIP viewing site is also filled with many luminaries, including Florida Governor Rick Scott and 15 members of Congress, most notably Florida Senators Marco Rubio and shuttle flier Bill Nelson. Other notables include musical great Herbie Hancock, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and Colonel Joe Kittinger, most famous for holding the records for having the highest, fastest and longest skydive and the first man to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a gas balloon.

Discovery's Hatch Closed for Launch
24 February 2011, 02:55 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle Discovery's hatch has been closed and latched for flight, the six astronauts are strapped into their seats and final preparations are progressing smoothly for today's launch attempt from pad 39-A at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Discovery's late afternoon launch is scheduled for 4:50:27 p.m. EST (2150:27 GMT) – the midpoint of a 10-minute launch window. A final adjustment may be made at the T-9 minute hold to more precisely align with the orbit of the International Space Station.

The veteran STS-133 crew - led by commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe – just completed the final series of air-to-ground communications checks to ensure that the astronauts can talk to flight controllers and each other during the spacecraft's ascent to orbit. The launch team is not working any technical issues at this time. The official weather forecast remains a very optimistic 90% chance of acceptable conditions for launch – winds will be gusting to 20 knots from the southeast, but within constraints. Some clouds are forming to the west of the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) but the launch weather team feels that the onshore sea breeze will keep them far enough away so they won't become a constraint to launch.

The combination of a late-afternoon launch, school vacation week and the urgency to view a Shuttle launch before the program winds down is attracting throngs of spectators who are lining the area's beaches and causeways by the thousands to witness Discovery's liftoff.

-- Roger Guillemette


Discovery Astronauts Strapped In for Launch
24 February 2011, 02:35 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The six STS-133 astronauts are now securely strapped into their seats onboard shuttle Discovery and beginning final preparations for today's launch attempt from Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39-A. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

Discovery's late-afternoon launch is scheduled for 4:50:27 p.m. EST (2150:27 GMT) – the midpoint of a 10-minute launch window.

The astronauts are all spaceflight veterans, led by commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe. The STS-133 mission specialists are spacewalkers Stephen Bowen and Alvin Drew along with Nicole Stott and Michael Barratt. After crew member Timothy Kopra was replaced on this mission because of a broken hip, Alvin Drew assumed his duties as Flight Engineer during Discovery's ascent and Nicole Stott will serve as Flight Engineer during re-entry and landing.

The astronauts are now engaged in a series of communications checks between the spacecraft, the launch team and Mission Control in Houston. At this time, shuttle Discovery is fully fueled for launch and the vehicle is in "stable replenish" mode, with propellants being topped-off until launch time. This morning, technicians loaded Discovery's 15-story external fuel tank with the super-chilled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed its three main engines during the 8.5-minute ascent into space. Fueling operations ended at 10:19 a.m. EST with about 535,000 gallons of super-cold cryogenic propellant loaded into the fuel tank.

No technical issues are currently being worked and weather conditions remain favorable.

-- Roger Guillemette


Discovery Commander Enters Spacecraft
24 February 2011, 01:37 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA mission commander Steve Lindsey (Colonel, USAF, Ret.) has climbed onboard shuttle Discovery for its late afternoon, rush-hour launch attempt at 4:50:27 p.m. EST (2150:27 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

STS-133 will be Lindsey's fifth spaceflight; he previously flew on missions STS-87, STS-95, STS-104 and STS-121.

No technical issues are currently being worked with Discovery and the official weather forecast remains a very optimistic 90 percent probability of acceptable conditions for launch. Weather conditions at both Trans-Oceanic Abort Landing (TAL) sites in Spain are both observed and forecast 'Green' or 'Go' to support a launch attempt this afternoon.

At this time, shuttle Discovery is fully fueled for launch and the vehicle is in "stable replenish" mode, with propellants being topped-off until launch time. This morning, technicians loaded Discovery's 15-story external fuel tank with the super-chilled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed its three main engines during the 8.5-minute ascent into space. Fueling operations ended at 10:19 AM EST with about 535,000 gallons of cryogenic propellant loaded into the fuel tank.

-- Roger Guillemette


Discovery Astronauts Arrive at Launch Pad
24 February 2011, 01:18 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The six STS-133 astronauts have arrived at Pad 39A where shuttle Discovery awaits a late-afternoon liftoff at 4:50:27 p.m. EST (2150:27 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV.

The astronauts will enter Discovery one by one, beginning with veteran mission commander Steve Lindsey, to prepare for this afternoon's launch attempt. The launch team is not working any technical issues and the countdown so far has been smooth and uneventful. The Final Inspection Team, also known as the "Ice Team", has not found any unusual build-up of ice or damage to the External Tank.

The official weather forecast is a very optimistic 90% chance of acceptable conditions for launch – winds will be gusting to 20 knots from the southeast, but within constraints. The only concerns for launch are a potential low cloud ceiling and isolated showers that may form within 20 nautical miles of the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). Weather conditions at the Trans-Oceanic Abort Landing (TAL) sites in Moron and Zaragoza, Spain are both observed and forecast 'Green' or 'Go' to support a launch attempt this afternoon; the other TAL site in Istres, France is currently 'No-Go' for high winds.

Discovery's 39th mission is the final flight for the venerable space plane.

-- Roger Guillemette


Discovery Astronauts Depart for Launch Pad
24 February 2011, 01:00 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The crew of space shuttle Discovery, clad in their bright orange launch-and-entry pressure suits, has departed the Operations & Checkout (O&C) Building at the Kennedy Space Center. The six astronauts, riding in their silver 'Astro Van', are now en route to seaside pad 39A where the shuttle is poised for launch, framed against a hazy blue sky. Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV: SPACE.com NASA TV feed

After a 25-minute ride to the launch pad, the STS-133 astronauts, all spaceflight veterans, will enter Discovery one by one, beginning with mission commander Steve Lindsey, to prepare for this afternoon's launch attempt.

Discovery's launch is scheduled for 4:50:27 p.m. EST (2150:27 GMT). The launch team is not working any technical issues and the countdown so far has been smooth and uneventful.

The official weather forecast is a very optimistic 90% chance of acceptable conditions for launch – winds will be gusting to 20 knots from the southeast, but within constraints. The only concerns for launch are a potential low cloud ceiling and isolated showers that may form within 20 nautical miles of the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). Crowds of spectators are pouring into the communities surrounding KSC to witness Discovery's final launch; at 11 a.m. EST, the traffic heading toward beaches of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach was backed up for miles, five hours before liftoff.

-- Roger Guillemette


Discovery Crew Suits Up for Launch
24 February 2011, 12:29 PM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Space shuttle Discovery's six-astronaut STS-133 crew will depart for the launch pad at 1 p.m. EST. The final inspection team is currently out at Launch Pad 39A here at the Kennedy Space Center, doing a thorough check of the pad and Discovery's external surfaces.

The countdown for Discovery's launch will resume at 12:55 p.m. EST. The astronaut crewmembers are scheduled to enter the orbiter at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Launch is on track for today at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV: SPACE.com NASA TV feed

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


Shuttle Discovery Fueled for Launch
24 February 2011, 10:30 AM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The fueling process for the space shuttle Discovery is complete, with no issues detected as technicians filled the orbiter's massive external fuel tank with over 500,000 gallons of super cold liquid oxygen and hydrogen. Fueling concluded at 10:19 a.m. EST.

"The ground umbilical carrier plate (GUCP), which leaked & caused Discovery's scrub in Nov, is performing great. No issues," NASA officials said in an update via Twitter.

Launch is on track for today at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV: SPACE.com NASA TV feed

-- Denise Chow (@denisechow)


NASA 'Go' to Fuel Shuttle Discovery
24 February 2011, 07:25 AM EST
NASA managers have given the "go" order to begin fueling operations for space shuttle Discovery. The shuttle's 15-story external tank will be fueled with 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellant.

Launch is on track for today at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV: SPACE.com NASA TV feed


Launch Day for Space Shuttle Discovery
24 February 2011, 06:35 AM EST
It's Launch Day for space shuttle Discovery, with liftoff on track for 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT).

NASA will begin fueling Discovery at about 7:25 a.m. EST (1225 GMT). Watch the action LIVE on NASA TV: SPACE.com NASA TV feed


NASA Gives Shuttle Discovery Final "Go"
23 February 2011, 11:00 AM EST
NASA officials unanimously decided to clear shuttle Discovery for its final launch. Read More


NASA Clears Shuttle Discovery for Feb. 24 Launch
19 February 2011, 01:55 AM EST
After an hours-long meeting at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA's top officials unanimously cleared the space shuttle Discovery for its final launch next Thursday (Feb. 24). Read More


Fuel Leak Scrubs Friday Launch Plans
05 November 2010, 11:20 AM EDT
A leak of hydrogen gas from the space shuttle Discovery was found this morning after the spacecraft began tanking in preparation for a planned launch this afternoon. The leak has forced NASA to call of today's launch, and instead aim to lift off Discovery on its final mission Monday. -- Clara Moskowitz


Technicians Investigating Leak Found During Tanking Process
05 November 2010, 10:01 AM EDT
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA technicians have detected a hydrogen gas leak in an attaching point on the space shuttle Discovery's external tank. NASA officials have been investigating the leak for about 20 minutes, and are currently managing it by slowing the flow of liquid hydrogen into the tank. "They're looking at what possibly can be done, but it is an issue that can potentially have implications for this afternoon's launch," said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel during NASA TV's coverage of the tanking process. The three-hour tanking procedure began at 5:58 a.m. EDT (0958 GMT). Discovery is slated to launch at 3:04 p.m. EDT (1904 GMT) this afternoon. -- Denise Chow


Fueling of Shuttle Discovery's External Tank Still Underway
05 November 2010, 09:22 AM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The process of filling the shuttle Discovery's distinct, orange external fuel tank is still underway, and so far, no issues have been reported. The approximately three-hour procedure, called tanking, began at 5:58 a.m. EDT (0958 GMT). It involves filling the tank with more than 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. This fuel will power Discovery's three main engines during liftoff and ascent into orbit. Discovery is slated to launch at 3:04 p.m. EDT (1904 GMT) from Launch Pad 39A here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Current forecasts continue to show a 70 percent chance of acceptable launch conditions, but officials will continue to monitor the winds in the area. -- Denise Chow

Technicians Begin Filling Shuttle Discovery's External Fuel Tank
05 November 2010, 08:13 AM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The roughly three-hour process of filling the space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank has officially begun. The procedure, called tanking, was scheduled to begin at 5:38 a.m. EDT (0938 GMT), but actually got underway at 5:58 a.m. EDT (0958 GMT). The slight delay is not expected to impact the scheduled launch time this afternoon. Discovery is slated to liftoff at 3:04 p.m. EDT (1904 GMT) from Launch Pad 39A here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Current forecasts are showing a 70 percent chance of acceptable launch conditions, but officials will continue to monitor the winds in the area.

 


Officials are 'Go' to Begin Fueling Shuttle Discovery
05 November 2010, 07:28 AM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Discovery's STS-133 mission managers met this morning at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) and made a unanimous decision to proceed with filling the shuttle's enormous external fuel tank. The fueling process, called tanking, is scheduled to begin around 5:38 a.m. EDT (0938 GMT). It takes approximately three hours to fill the tank with about 500,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants. Last night, the rotating service structure was put back around shuttle on the launch pad so that technicians could replace three weather protection covers on two of the orbiter's thrusters. The repair work was completed with no impact to tanking or launch times. Discovery is slated to liftoff at 3:04 p.m. EDT (1904 GMT). Current forecasts have improved since yesterday, and are now showing a 70 percent chance of acceptable launch conditions, with the main concern being high winds. The STS-133 astronaut crewmembers woke up roughly an hour ago, and are currently undergoing final medical checks.

 


Engineers Fixing Weather Covers on Shuttle Discovery's Thrusters
05 November 2010, 03:39 AM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle technicians are working to fix weather covers on two of the space shuttle Discovery's forward thrusters. In a recent Twitter update from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, it was announced that the rotating service structure that was retracted from around the shuttle Wednesday night (Nov. 3) in preparation for launch, had temporarily been closed again to address the rain cover issues. The brief update indicated that Discovery's scheduled launch on Friday (Nov. 5) is still on track. The workhorse orbiter is slated to liftoff at 3:04 p.m. EDT (1904 GMT). Current forecasts show a 60 percent chance of acceptable launch conditions, with the main concern being high winds. Top mission managers are set to meet at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) to evaluate the weather situation.

 


Shuttle Discovery Cleared for Thursday Launch
03 November 2010, 09:09 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA officials have decided to proceed with plans for a Thursday launch of the space shuttle Discovery on its 39th and final mission, but a dismal weather forecast looms ahead. The decision came after an hours-long discussion by top mission managers to clear Discovery of any concerns related to an electrical glitch in a backup main engine computer controller. Discovery is slated to liftoff tomorrow at 3:29 p.m. EDT (1929 GMT) on an 11-day supply mission to the International Space Station. Forecasts continue to show only a 20 percent chance of favorable weather for tomorrow's launch, with the main threats being low clouds, showers and even thunderstorms in the area. The STS-133 mission management team will reconvene at 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT) tomorrow to assess the weather situation before technicians begin filling Discovery's external fuel tank.

 


Weather Outlook Not Promising for Discovery's Thursday Launch
03 November 2010, 12:11 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA officials made the decision late yesterday (Nov. 2) to delay Discovery's final launch until at least Thursday, after engineers encountered an electrical glitch with a backup computer on one of the orbiter's three main engines. But, weather could be a major factor with this new launch day. The next attempt to launch Discovery will happen no earlier than Thursday (Nov. 4) at 3:29 p.m. (1929 GMT). Current forecasts show only a 20 percent chance of favorable weather for that day. The STS-133 mission management team is expected to meet today at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) to make a decision on the orbiter's launch status.

 


Shuttle Discovery's Final Launch Delayed Until Thursday
02 November 2010, 09:38 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The space shuttle Discovery's final launch has been delayed at least 24 hours due to issues with one of the orbiter's backup engine controllers. Mission managers decided that extra time is needed to address the glitch, preventing an on-time launch tomorrow afternoon (Nov. 3).The next attempt to launch the space shuttle will come no earlier than Thursday (Nov. 4) at 3:29 p.m. (1929 GMT). Current forecasts call for a mere 30 percent chance of good weather in the area on Thursday. The main concerns are low clouds and showers at the launch site.

 


Technicians Studying Electrical Glitch on Space Shuttle Discovery
02 November 2010, 04:14 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA engineers are studying an apparent engine controller glitch in a backup system on the space shuttle Discovery in the hopes of solving the issue in time for a scheduled Nov. 3 launch. The glitch is affecting the backup computer controller on Discovery's Main Engine No. 3, but further details – including the severity of the issue – have not yet been released. Earlier today, engineers noticed a separate problem with the same backup computer system, but the issues were said to have been resolved. Discovery is slated to blast off tomorrow at 3:52 p.m. EDT (1952 GMT) from a seaside pad here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The mission has been delayed by two days by other technical issues that have since been solved.

 


Shuttle Discovery's Prelaunch Preparations Underway
02 November 2010, 12:12 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The space shuttle Discovery is one day away from its final launch, and preparatory activities are in full gear. Today, technicians will inspect the shuttle's external tank and activate the orbiter's communications systems. The rotating service structure that surrounds Discovery on the launch pad will be retracted away from the orbiter this evening, in preparation for tomorrow's launch. Discovery is set to liftoff Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 3:52 p.m. EDT (1952 GMT). Weather forecasts continue to show a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions on launch day.

 


Preparations Continue for Discovery's Upcoming Launch
01 November 2010, 11:27 AM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle technicians and mission managers continue ongoing preparations for the space shuttle Discovery's final launch on Wednesday. The STS-133 crew woke up at 5:15 a.m. EDT (0915 GMT) this morning. Commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe performed practice landings in NASA's Shuttle Training Aircraft, which mimics the handling of an orbiter during landing. Additional prelaunch details will be discussed in a news briefing at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT). Discovery is set to liftoff Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 3:52 p.m. EDT (1952 GMT). Current weather forecasts show a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions on launch day.

 


Discovery's Launch On Track for Wednesday
31 October 2010, 11:21 AM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to liftoff Wednesday Nov. 3 at 3:52 p.m. EDT (1952 GMT), after engineers were able to successfully complete repairs on the orbiter. After tackling leaky helium and nitrogen seals in Discovery's right orbital maneuvering system pod, technicians worked overnight to prepare the shuttle for launch and encountered no issues, according to NASA officials. The launch countdown is scheduled to begin today at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The weather forecast for Wednesday's launch calls for a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

 


Discovery's Launch Delayed Until Wednesday
30 October 2010, 12:45 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The final launch of the space shuttle Discovery has been delayed another 24 hours – to Nov. 3 – to allow engineers and technicians more time to address troublesome leaks that were found late Thursday (Oct. 28). NASA managers met this morning and made the decision to delay the shuttle's launch to give technicians at Kennedy Space Center additional time to complete the re-pressurization of Discovery's right orbital maneuvering system pod. The Nov. 3 liftoff is now targeted for 3:52 p.m. EDT (1952 GMT). According to Kathy Winters, NASA's shuttle weather officer, the current forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions on the new launch day.

 


Discovery's Crew Continues Preflight Activities
29 October 2010, 06:37 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Even with Discovery's launch delayed a day, the shuttle's astronaut crew is keeping busy with preflight training exercises and mission review. Earlier today, STS-133 commander Steve Lindsey and pilot Eric Boe performed practice landings in NASA's Shuttle Training Aircraft, dressed in their pumpkin orange pressure suits. Lindsey and Boe also checked the fit of their launch and entry suits, and spent most of the remainder of the day studying and reviewing the details of the upcoming mission. Pending the successful repair of the helium and nitrogen leaks found in one of Discovery's engine pods, the orbiter is now scheduled to launch on its final space voyage on Nov. 2 at 4:17 p.m. EDT (2017 GMT).

 


Engineers Scrambling to Complete Shuttle Repairs
29 October 2010, 12:58 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Engineers are racing to fix two leaks that were found in one of Discovery's twin aft-mounted engine pods. The helium and nitrogen leaks have forced NASA officials to delay Discovery's launch by a day. In a pre-countdown status briefing this morning, NASA test director Jeff Spaulding called the repairs "fairly common – a well-known process." Spaulding noted that these new leaks are unrelated to Discovery's fuel line leak that engineering teams at Kennedy Space Center repaired last weekend. Discovery is now scheduled to launch on its final space voyage on Nov. 2 at 4:17 p.m. EDT (2017 GMT).

 


Discovery's Launch Delayed 24 Hours
29 October 2010, 11:27 AM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The final launch of space shuttle Discovery has been delayed at least a day, after helium and nitrogen leaks were found in the pressurization portion of the shuttle's right-hand Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod. These new helium and nitrogen leaks are said to be unrelated to the fuel line leak that was also repaired last week in Discovery's right OMS pod. The launch countdown, which was originally scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. EDT today, will now begin at 2 p.m. EDT Saturday. NASA is now targeting a Tuesday, Nov. 2 liftoff at 4:17 p.m. EDT (2017 GMT).

 


Discovery's Crew Excited For Launch
28 October 2010, 07:00 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Discovery's six-astronaut crew has arrived here at Kennedy Space Center in Florida – the site of their upcoming historic launch. Commander Steve Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe, and mission specialists Michael Barratt, Nicole Stott, Tim Kopra and Alvin Drew flew to KSC from Johnson Space Center in Houston aboard T-38 supersonic jets. In the remaining days leading up to launch, the astronauts will remain in medical quarantine to prevent illness before the mission. They will also spend the next several days reviewing mission details and completing last-minute training exercises.

 


Just Waiting On One
28 October 2010, 05:31 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Five of the six astronauts who will launch aboard Discovery on its 39th and final spaceflight have arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center here in Florida. Commander Steve Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe, and mission specialists Michael Barratt, Nicole Stott and Tim Kopra touched down at KSC at around 3:00 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), flying in on white T-38 supersonic jets. Mission specialist Alvin Drew encountered issues with his T-38 aircraft and had to return to Houston to switch planes. He is now expected to arrive at around 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT).

 


Discovery Astronauts Set to Arrive in Florida
28 October 2010, 03:32 PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The six astronauts who will fly the space shuttle Discovery on its historic final flight are scheduled to arrive at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida this afternoon, four days ahead of their planned Nov. 1 liftoff. Commander Steve Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe, and mission specialists Michael Barratt, Nicole Stott, Alvin Drew and Tim Kopra will fly to KSC from their training base at Johnson Space Center in Houston aboard the space agency's T-38 training aircraft. Discovery is set to launch on Monday at 4:40 p.m. EDT (2040 GMT) on its last mission to the International Space Station.

 


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