NKC STS-120 Text

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STS-120 -- Mission to the International Space Station

STS-120 was the 23rd shuttle mission to the International Space Station. Pam Melroy was space shuttle Discovery's commander. She was the second woman to command a space shuttle mission. George Zamka served as pilot. The flight's mission specialists were Scott Parazynski, Doug Wheelock, Stephanie Wilson and Paolo Nespoli. Nespoli is a European Space Agency astronaut from Italy. This was the first spaceflight for Zamka, Wheelock and Nespoli. Astronaut Daniel Tani flew to the space station on STS-120. He is staying on the station as a flight engineer and is now part of the station Expedition 16 crew. Expedition 15/16 Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson returned to Earth from the space station aboard shuttle mission STS-120.

Each crew designs a patch that helps tell about their mission. In the STS-120 patch, the star stands for the space station. On the right, the moon and Mars can be seen showing the future of NASA. The constellation Orion rises in the background. It stands for NASA's new exploration vehicle. And the shuttle rises up and away, leading the way to the future. The Harmony module is seen inside the shuttle payload bay.

From the time the module was first built, it was known as Node 2. Now, thanks to students from across the United States, Node 2 is named Harmony. The name was chosen during a contest that included more than 2,200 students in kindergarten through high school from 32 states. In the contest, students had to learn about the space station. Then they had to build a model and write an essay explaining why they chose their name for the module. Six different schools entered Harmony. A group at NASA picked Harmony as the winner, because the name shows how all countries have to work together to finish building the space station.

The name Harmony was also picked for another reason. Harmony will connect the U.S part of the station to European and Japanese sections that will be sent up later. After those sections are sent up, the space station will be about the size of a five-bedroom house.

The mission only lasted a couple of weeks, but the crew was busy the entire time they were in orbit.

Click here to learn about other missions.

Page Last Updated: January 21st, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator