Space shuttle crew comes to town for Monday's launch
BY JUSTIN RAY
Posted: April 1, 2010
With their training in Houston now complete, the seven space shuttle Discovery astronauts flew to the Florida spaceport this morning in preparation for Monday's predawn blastoff to the International Space Station.
"It's a beautiful morning here at Kennedy Space Center and the crew is very happy to be here as you can see," Poindexter told reporters after stepping off the plane.
In addition to a large group of journalists and photographers at the runway, also greeting the crew were KSC director Bob Cabana and launch director Pete Nickolenko.
"We had a short flyby of the pad and saw the good ship Discovery out there and it looks great. And we're ready to go. Just a short 96 hours from now we should be launching," Poindexter added.
Discovery's mission to the orbiting station will deliver critical resupply items and new science equipment amounting to thousands of pounds. All activities remain targeted for launch at 6:21 a.m. EDT (1021 GMT) on Monday.
"The crew's ready to go and we're looking forward to our mission to the International Space Station. It's a complex 13-day mission, it's main mission is resupply. We also have three very challenging EVAs," Poindexter said.
"We have seven racks to deliver to the International Space Station, including four research and science racks. We're looking forward to getting those onboard," Poindexter said.
After making the brief statements to the press and posing for photos, the crew was bussed away to the crew quarters building where they had dinner. Later, the astronauts visited launch pad 39A to perform a final inspection of the mission payloads installed in the orbiter before the cargo bay doors are closed for flight this afternoon.
Bedtime will be 12 p.m. EDT, as the crew shifts its wake/sleep cycle for the overnight work hours of the mission. They will be awakened at 8 p.m. EDT tonight for a day devoted to landing practice using the Shuttle Training Aircraft, prepping their flight data files, checking out the spacesuits that will be worn during launch and entry.
"It's hard to believe it's been over a year now that we've been preparing for this mission. It's just great to be here this week, just four days out from launch," Dutton said.
At launch pad 39A, technicians are running through the routine final steps to ready Discovery for the launch countdown. Clocks are scheduled to start ticking at 3 a.m. EDT Friday for the three-day sequence leading to Monday's liftoff.
"We wanted to thank the dedicated team of professionals down here that's been working so far for the past several weeks to put the final touches on the vehicle and getting ready to get into the launch countdown early tomorrow morning," Poindexter said.
The weather forecast for launch time is calling for an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions. The chance of fog or a low-cloud ceiling are the two potential worries.