Thursday, March 12, 2009

Astronauts Polish Training as Countdown Proceeds

Commander Lee Archambault and Pilot Tony Antonelli took turns landing the shuttle training aircraft at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to practice landing space shuttle Discovery in a couple weeks. Flying over the space center, the astronauts would have had no trouble seeing their spacecraft on Launch Pad 39A where a small team of workers were going through their own procedures leading up to tomorrow night’s liftoff planned for 9:20 p.m. EDT.

The weather forecast calls for a 90 percent chance of acceptable conditions and NASA Test Director Steve Payne reported no technical concerns with the spacecraft.

“We have no real concerns and we are ready for the exciting mission that lies ahead of us,” Payne said.

Commander Lee Archambault will lead Discovery's crew of seven, along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata on mission STS-119 to the International Space Station.

The Discovery crew members are set to fly the S6 truss segment and install the final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International Space Station. The S6 truss will complete the backbone of the station and provide one-fourth of the total power needed to support a crew of six.
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