NASA's Shuttle Discovery Launches With Japanese Laboratory
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 5:02 p.m. EDT Saturday to deliver and install a Japanese laboratory on the International Space Station.
The mission, designated STS-124, is the second of three flights to launch components to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. Discovery is carrying Kibo's tour bus-sized Japanese Pressurized Module, or JPM, which will be the station's largest module. The shuttle astronauts will work with the three-member station crew and ground teams around the world to install the JPM and Kibo's robotic arm system.
Shortly before launch, Commander Mark Kelly thanked the teams that helped make the launch possible. "We're going to deliver Kibo, or hope, to the space station," Kelly said. "And while we tend to live for today, the discoveries from Kibo will certainly offer hope for tomorrow."
Joining Kelly on Discovery's 14-day flight are Pilot Ken Ham and Mission Specialists Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan, Mike Fossum, Greg Chamitoff and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide. Garan and Fossum will conduct three spacewalks during the mission. Chamitoff will replace current station crew member Garrett Reisman, who has lived on the outpost since mid-March. Chamitoff will return to Earth on Endeavour's STS-126 mission, targeted for Nov. 10.
NASA is providing continuous television and Internet coverage of Discovery's mission, which is the 123rd shuttle flight, the 35th for Discovery and the 26th shuttle mission to the station.
NASA Television features live mission events, daily mission status news conferences and 24-hour commentary. NASA TV is webcast at: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
NASA's Web coverage of STS-124 includes current mission information, interactive features, and news conference images, graphics and videos. Mission coverage, including the latest NASA TV schedule, also is available on the main space shuttle Web site at: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle
Daily news conferences with STS-124 mission managers take place at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. During normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday, reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations. Please contact your preferred NASA facility by its daily close of business to confirm its availability before each event.
Johnson will operate a phone bridge for media briefings that occur outside of the normal business hours. To be eligible to use this service, reporters must possess a valid media credential issued by a NASA center or for the STS-124 mission. Media planning to use the service must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than 15 minutes prior to the start of a briefing in which they wish to participate. Newsroom personnel will verify their credentials and transfer them to the phone bridge. The capacity of the phone bridge is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For information about other NASA missions and activities, visit: http://www.nasa.gov
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