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NKC Buzz Lightyear-Mission Phase 1

A group of young, animated characters against a colorful background with the words NASA Kids' Club

Mission Phase 1

Greetings, new recruits! After extensive preparation, I'm finally living my dream of flying "to infinity and beyond!" We strapped in for the 123rd space shuttle flight and the 26th voyage to the International Space Station. Liftoff was a blast! Seconds before launch we experienced the shaking and rumbling that occurs at main engine ignition. Once the twin rocket boosters fired up, there was extreme activity as we rocketed toward space in the Discovery orbiter. Within two minutes we reached a speed of more than 3,400 mph, and we’ll go even faster in order to achieve orbit!

This mind-boggling spacecraft is more than 18 stories tall, weighs more than 4 million pounds, and is carrying more than 8 tons of cargo and over 800,000 gallons of fuel. The Discovery orbiter is named for two famous sailing ships, one sailed by Henry Hudson and the other by James Cook. But this Discovery is destined for the stars, not the water!

Sitting in the pilot seat is astronaut and honorary space ranger, Navy Commander Ken Ham. Commanding the STS-124 mission is Navy Commander Mark Kelly. Together with five other astronauts, we will be delivering the Pressurized Module and robotic arm of the Japanese Experiment Module known as Kibo, which means "Hope." Our mission is the second of three flights that are working toward completing the Kibo laboratory.

Recruits, the success of our mission depends on teamwork, precision and preparation. We can't use hyper-drive to return to Star Command to pick up anything we forgot. It is imperative that we are fully prepared for every possibility.

Try the first game, Load the Shuttle, to test your skills and carry out a payload training assignment! Good luck, cadets!


Load the Shuttle Game

The payload of a space shuttle is unique to each mission. The space shuttle payload bay can consist of payloads that are various shapes, sizes and weight. Supplies, scientific experiments, ISS components, materials and tools needed to make repairs and complete the assigned mission may be a part of a space shuttle payload. The weight of the payload affects the total weight of the space shuttle and must be carefully considered and planned.

1. Imagine it is your job to identify a mission for the space shuttle.
2. What is the purpose of your mission?
3. Identify essential items that you would need to include in a payload to complete the mission and assign each item a reasonable weight. You may have to do some research to determine weight for your payload items.
4. List your payload items with their individual weight.
5. Your part of the mission payload cannot exceed 225 pounds.
6. What is your total payload weight?
7. Did you exceed your payload limit?
8. If you did exceed your payload limit, how would you decide what to leave behind and why?

Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator