After reaching its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in
Florida, space shuttle Discovery now awaits its next major
milestone for the upcoming STS-119 mission. A launch dress
rehearsal, known as the terminal countdown demonstration test, is
scheduled to take place at Kennedy from January 19 to 21.
The STS-119 mission to the International Space Station is
scheduled to lift off February 12. During the two-week mission, the
crew will install the S6 truss segment to the starboard side of the
station and deploy its solar arrays. Four spacewalks will be
conducted during the flight.
Commander Lee Archambault will lead a crew of seven, along with
Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John
Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and Japan Aerospace
Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.
Discovery arrived at Launch Pad 39A at 10:08 am EST Wednesday on
top of a giant crawler-transporter. The crawler-transporter left
Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building at 5:17 am Wednesday, traveling
less than 1 mph during the 3.4-mile journey. The shuttle was
secured on the pad at 12:16 pm.
The STS-119 astronauts and ground crews will participate in the
practice countdown. The test provides each shuttle crew with an
opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown
activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency
STS-119 will be the 125th shuttle flight, the 36th flight for
Discovery and the 28th flight to the station.