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STS-133: Discovery Heads into History
The doors to the massive Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, opened to reveal space shuttle Discovery secured on its mobile launcher platform.
Around 8 p.m. Eastern time on January 31 the crawler-transporter moved Discovery out of the VAB for what truly was expected to be its final journey to Launch Pad 39A.
For the second time in a little more than four months Discovery, bathed in Xenon lights, made the 3.4-mile trip to the pad.
In December, Discovery, NASA's longest-serving shuttle in the fleet, was rolled back into the VAB for repairs after the detection of cracks on the external fuel tank.
It took the powerful transporter about six hours, traveling at a slow but steady pace of about one mile an hour to move the orbiter, its external tank and twin solid rocket boosters to the pad.
The shuttle was accompanied by Kennedy employees their families and friends, sharing a moment in history together as Discovery's last flight on the STS-133 mission draws near.
By 3 a.m. Discovery was secured at Launch Pad 39A and is now poised for liftoff in February.
A crew of six astronauts will deliver the Permanent Multi-purpose Module, Robonaut 2, and the Express Logistics Carrier-4 filled with supplies and equipment aboard Discovery as it makes its historic final flight to the International Space Station.
From NASA's Kennedy Space Center, I'm George Diller
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