STS-133 -- Mission to the International Space Station
The crew members of space shuttle mission STS-133 are back from space! They launched on the space shuttle Discovery. Six astronauts were on the 35th shuttle trip to the International Space Station. The STS-133 commander was Steve Lindsey. The pilot was Eric Boe. Mission specialists were Alvin Drew, Michael Barratt, Steve Bowen and Nicole Stott.
Tim Kopra was supposed to fly on STS-133. On Jan. 15, 2011, he was in a bike accident. He is going to be okay, but NASA had to pick someone to fly in his place. Astronaut Steve Bowen took Kopra's place. Bowen had flown on STS-132. He was the first astronaut to fly on back-to-back missions.
Astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen flew on the first space shuttle mission. They visited the crew during STS-133 training.
This was an exciting trip for the space shuttle crew. NASA's Robonaut 2, or R2 for short, hitched a ride with the STS-133 crew. Robonaut 2 has a head, an upper body and two arms with hands. He does not have legs. R2 weighs about 300 pounds.
Getting into space isn't easy for astronauts. It was not much easier for a robot. Robonaut 2 was packed in a box made to fit him. He was on his back for the shuttle launch. That is how the human crew launched, too.
Astronauts spend a lot of time going to school. Their classes might be training to work in space in a giant swimming pool, in a model of the space shuttle or even sitting around a table.
Astronauts train for months before going into space. They work in life-sized models of shuttle and space station pieces. Astronauts practice making meals, using cameras and even taking care of trash.
Astronauts help pick the food they will eat while in space. The kinds of foods astronauts eat are not too different from what they eat on Earth. In fact, some of the things they eat can be bought at a grocery store.
The crew members designed a mission patch before their space shuttle trip. The patch shows things that are important to the crew. In the STS-133 patch, the shuttle flies into a shower of stars to show that this is Discovery's last planned flight. The names of the crew are listed around the edge of the patch.
to learn about other missions.