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Thu, Jan 15, 2009

Discovery Arrives At Launch Pad For STS-119

Practice Liftoff Set For January 19-21

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 training.

STS-119 will be the 125th shuttle flight, the 36th flight for Discovery and the 28th flight to the station.



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