NASA Updates Target Launch Date for Next Space Shuttle Flight
WASHINGTON -- NASA is targeting May 31 as the launch date for shuttle Discovery's STS-124 mission to deliver the large Japanese Kibo Pressurized Module to the International Space Station. The liftoff time is approximately 5:01 p.m. EDT.
NASA decided to reschedule Discovery's target launch date from May 25 to May 31 after shipment of the mission's external fuel tank from its assembly plant at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to Florida was delayed by weather. The tank arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 26.
Additionally, NASA elected to move the liftoff date in order to avoid having the launch team work through the Memorial Day weekend.
The official launch date for Discovery will be determined during the standard Flight Readiness Review held approximately two weeks before launch.
Discovery's mission is the second of three flights that will launch components to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. The Japanese Pressurized Module will be the station's largest science laboratory, measuring 37 feet long and 14 feet in diameter, about the size of a large tour bus. The shuttle also will deliver the lab's robotic arm system that support operations outside of Kibo. The lab's logistics module, which was installed in a temporary location during STS-123 in March, will be attached to the new lab.
Mark Kelly will command the seven-member crew, which includes Pilot Ken Ham, Mission Specialists Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan Jr., Mike Fossum, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and Greg Chamitoff. Chamitoff will replace Expedition 16/17 Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman and remain aboard the station as a member of the Expedition 17 crew. Reisman will return to Earth with the STS-124 crew.
For more information about the STS-124 mission and its crew, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle
For more information about the space station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station
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