Discovery Shuttle Astronauts Cut Loose in Goofy Photo

Discovery Shuttle Astronauts Cut Loose in Goofy Photo
STS-133 astronauts take a break from a simulated liftoff countdown next to the space shuttle Discovery. From left: Eric Boe, Michael Barratt, Steve Lindsey, Tim Kopra, Nicole Stott, and Alvin Drew. (Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Sixveteran astronauts may be busy gearing up to launch on NASA's spaceshuttleDiscovery this week, but that doesn't mean they don't know how to havefun. Casein point: a recent goofy snapshot alongside their ride to space.

Discovery'sfive-man,one-woman crew hammedit up on the 195-foot walkway of Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy SpaceCenterin Florida, where the shuttle sat awaiting launch. Liftoff is currentlyscheduledfor Nov. 3 at 3:52 p.m. EDT (1952 GMT). [Photo: Goofy photo ofDiscovery'slast crew]

Despite being clad in bulky orangespacesuits, Discovery'sastronaut crew struck strongman (and strongwoman) poses, flexing theirspacemuscles by what some consider to be the ultimate muscle spacecraft.

The astronauts were taking a breakduring a simulatedlaunch countdown Oct. 15 at the time the photo was taken forNASA byphotographer Kim Shiflett. From left are, pilot Eric Boe, missionspecialistMichael Barratt, commander Steve Lindsey, and mission specialists TimKopra,Nicole Stott, and Alvin Drew.

Shuttle Discovery'sfinal mission will visit the International Space Station todeliver a new storageroom ? the last major U.S. component of the space station ? and aroboticastronaut helper called Robonaut 2. It will be the 39th flight ofDiscovery andthe 133rd shuttle mission for NASA.

NASA is retiring its three-orbiterfleet in 2011 to make wayfor a new space plan that will shift toward using commercial spacecraftto sendastronauts into low-Earth orbit, as well as develop new vehicles toexplorenear-Earth asteroids and Mars.

Follow StaffWriter Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechowas she coversDiscovery's final space voyage from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Click here formission updates, new stories and a link to NASA's live webcast coverage.

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