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Meet the STS-133 Launch Team

Launch Team members share the responsibility and excitement of launching space shuttle missions. They report to their respective computer or communication consoles following the "call to stations" for the final countdown. Many of the consoles are located in the firing rooms in Kennedy's Launch Control Center, next door to the Vehicle Assembly Building in Launch Complex 39. Below are some of the key members with descriptions of their responsibilities during the events leading up to the liftoff of a space shuttle.

Michael P. Moses Michael P. Moses, Preflight Mission Management Team Chair
Moses shares mission management team responsibilities with the in-flight mission management team chair. He reports directly to the Space Shuttle Program manager and assists with the overall management, integration and operations of the shuttle program.

Mike Leinbach Michael D. Leinbach, Launch Director
Leinbach polls the payload manager, the shuttle engineering director, the launch weather officer and the director of safety to get a launch consensus, and verifies that the test and mission management team directors are in agreement. The launch director is responsible for making the final "go/no-go" decision to proceed with the launch.

Stephen J. Payne Stephen Payne, NASA Test Director
Payne leads the shuttle test team responsible for directing and integrating all flight crew, orbiter, external fuel tank, solid rocket boosters and ground support testing throughout the shuttle launch countdown. The test director also is responsible for the safety of all personnel at the launch pad after external tank loading, including the flight crew. He reports to the launch director.

Stephanie Stilson Stephanie Stilson, Discovery Flow Director
Stilson is responsible for space shuttle Discovery's integration, as well as scheduling and management of all activities associated with processing the orbiter for each of its assigned missions. Responsibilities extend to all areas of flight hardware processing to ensure timely achievement of scheduled milestones.

Scott Higginbotham Scott Higginbotham, Payload Mission Manager
Higginbotham leads the team of engineers and technicians who assemble and test the payloads flying on the STS-133 mission. He acts as the primary interface with the payload customers and solves any technical issues that may arise with any of the hardware.

Kathy Winters Kathy Winters, Launch Weather Officer
Winters monitors weather conditions from the Morrell Operations Center on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and evaluates range and shuttle weather launch commit criteria. She is in constant contact with the launch director and landing recovery director during the countdown, and contacted by the launch director during the final launch poll.

Jeff Spaulding Jeff Spaulding, Assistant Test Director
Spaulding is responsible for management of the launch team and launch procedure for the terminal countdown in support of the test director's duties, including management of the countdown clock with the ground launch sequencer operator, and management of any special crews sent to the pad for major issues or emergencies.

Michael E. Wetmore Michael E. Wetmore, Director of Safety and Mission Assurance
Wetmore is the advisory member to the mission management team and is responsible for reviewing the rationale in decision-making, ensuring that dissenting opinions are encouraged, and for calling on additional resources to respond to short turnaround issues.