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The Mission




Orbiter: Discovery
Mission: STS-119
Payload: S6 power truss
Launch: March 15, 2009
Time: 7:43 p.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: March 28 @ 3:13 p.m. EDT
Site: Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC
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Meet the astronauts flying aboard shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission.

Meet the Astronauts

CDR: Lee Archambault

PLT: Tony Antonelli

MS 1: Joe Acaba

MS 2: Steve Swanson

MS 3: Ricky Arnold

MS 4: John Phillips

Up: Koichi Wakata

Down: Sandy Magnus

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STS-119: The programs

In advance of shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission to the station, managers from both programs discuss the flight.

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STS-119: The mission

A detailed preview of Discovery's mission to deliver and activate the space station's final power truss is provided in this briefing.

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STS-119: Spacewalks

Four spacewalks are planned during Discovery's STS-119 mission to the station.

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STS-119: The Crew

The Discovery astronauts, led by commander Lee Archambault, meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.

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Mission manager says launch appeared flawless
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: March 16, 2009

A quick-look at ascent imagery and other data indicates the shuttle Discovery came through its launch and climb to space Sunday in very good shape with no major issues or anomalies, the chairman of NASA's Mission Management Team said late today. Space station controllers, meanwhile, decided a piece of space junk they had been tracking posed no threat and would not require an avoidance maneuver by the lab crew.

"We also have some good news for you regarding that possible debris avoidance maneuver," mission control radioed. "It will not be required. We've had three good data points, the last two have been very converged in terms of the miss distance, and so we will not need to perform the debris avoidance maneuver."

"OK, the entire crew copies, no debris avoidance maneuver," station commander Mike Fincke replied from orbit.

With no changes to the station's flight path, the Discovery astronauts will carry out their previously planned rendezvous sequence of rocket firings, a carefully choreographed procedure that will result in a docking with the space station around 5:13 p.m. Tuesday.

Mission Management Team Chairman LeRoy Cain told reporters late today Discovery was in excellent condition after a "picture-perfect" launch Sunday.

"We have no major problems of note from the launch or from the ascent," Cain said. "The space shuttle vehicle performed flawlessly during the ascent phase. ... We only have a very few minor anomalies. But none of them is significant and there isn't anything that's affecting the mission or the vehicle performance in any way whatsoever."

Discovery's launch was delayed more than a month, primarily by concern about suspect hydrogen flow control valves used to pressurize the hydrogen section of the shuttle's external tank. During the previous shuttle launch last November, a small piece of a valve poppet broke off.

Discovery's launch was held up for tests and analyses to better understand what happened and what the potential impact might be. The shuttle was finally cleared for launch using three valves shown to be crack free using a new inspection technique.

Cain said today telemetry from launch Sunday showed "all three valves performed nominally, they were right down the middle of their expected performance. So no indications of any issues there."

The Discovery astronauts spent the day checking out the spacesuits they'll use during upcoming station assembly spacewalks and carrying out a detailed inspection of the shuttle's nose cap and wing leading edge panels. Cain said no obvious problems with the shuttle's heat shield had been seen, but it will take engineers another day or so to complete their analysis. A decision on whether or not an additional, "focused," inspection might be needed after docking is expected late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Discovery is in a slightly lower orbit and slowly but surely catching up to the station. Shuttle flight planners were prepared to implement minor changes to the rendezvous sequence if the station crew had been told to carry out a debris avoidance maneuver, but that would have had "a very minor impact" on the shuttle crew's timeline.

Last week, the station astronauts briefly entered the station's Soyuz lifeboat to ride out a projected close encounter with another piece of space debris. Cain said two such incidents so close together was probably a coincidence.

But he agreed "space debris is an issue for us. It's real, insomuch that there are objects small and large that we have to contend with. We have to be constantly mindful of the fact there are things being tracked, there are objects too small to be tracked, and that's an issue as well."

Tracking and occasionally dodging space debris "is part of the business, it comes with the territory, and we'll continue to do whatever is necessary to avoid debris when we can and when we know about it."

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Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF HEAT SHIELD INSPECTIONS PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: THE FULL STS-119 LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: EXTERNAL TANK CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: VAB ROOF PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-1 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-2 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-6 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: FRONT CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: BEACH TRACKER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PLAYALINDA BEACH PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: THE VIP VIEWING SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PRESS SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: WEST TOWER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 009 PLAY

VIDEO: SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY BLASTS OFF PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE'S CREW MODULE HATCH CLOSED FOR FLIGHT PLAY
VIDEO: MISSION SPECIALIST STEVE SWANSON BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: PILOT TONY ANTONELLI BOARDS DISCOVERY PLAY
VIDEO: COMMANDER LEE ARCHAMBAULT BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS QUARTERS FOR LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS DON SPACESUITS FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF SUNRISE AT LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF HYDROGEN ACCESS ARM RETRACTION PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF SATURDAY NIGHT'S GANTRY ROLLBACK PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S SHUTTLE AND WEATHER UPDATE BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: POST-SCRUB NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY IN THE PREDAWN DARKESS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S ROLLBACK OF PAD GANTRY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF PAD GANTRY ROLLING BACK PLAY
VIDEO: THE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE IN FLORIDA FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: POST-ARRIVAL COMMENTS FROM THE CREW PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: FLIGHT READINESS REVIEW BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: SECOND LAUNCH POSTPONEMENT BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: NARRATED MISSION OVERVIEW MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MEET SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S ASTRONAUTS PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH COMMANDER LEE ARCHAMBAULT PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH PILOT TONY ANTONELLI PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS1 JOE ACABA PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS2 STEVE SWANSON PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS3 RICKY ARNOLD PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS4 JOHN PHILLIPS PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS5 KOICHI WAKATA PLAY

VIDEO: NASA OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE LAUNCH DELAY PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE STATION'S VIBRATIONS DURING REBOOST PLAY

VIDEO: INFORMAL NEWS CONFERENCE AT RUNWAY PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE FOR PRACTICE COUNTDOWN PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY POSITIONED ATOP PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: EARLY MORNING ROLLOUT FROM THE VAB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY ARRIVING AT PAD 39A PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY HOISTED FOR ATTACHMENT TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CRANE ROTATES DISCOVERY VERTICALLY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DISCOVERY MOVES TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NOSE WHEEL LANDING GEAR RETRACTED PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY GOING VERTICAL PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ASSEMBLY BUILDING CRANE WORK PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY'S TRIP TO VAB PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF PAYLOAD'S MOVE PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: STS-119 MISSION OVERVIEW BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALKS PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY
MORE: STS-119 VIDEO COVERAGE
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