Bathed in Light
Space Shuttle Discovery is bathed in light on Launch Pad 39B. Seen above the external tank is the vent hood (known as the "beanie cap") at the end of the gaseous oxygen vent arm. Vapors are created as the liquid oxygen in the external tank boil off and the hood vents the gaseous oxygen vapors away from the shuttle. Below it is the orbiter access arm with the White Room at the end, through which the crew accesses the orbiter.
Discovery is scheduled to launch on mission STS-116 at on Saturday, Dec. 9. On the mission, the crew will deliver truss segment, P5, to the International Space Station and begin the intricate process of reconfiguring and redistributing the power generated by the two pairs of solar arrays. The P5 will be mated to the P4 truss that was delivered and attached during the STS-115 mission in September.
Image credit: NASA/George Shelton