Discovery blasts off to ISS
Shuttle launch runs on rails
On board are commander Alan Poindexter, pilot Jim Dutton, and mission specialists Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Naoko Yamazaki and NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson.
Discovery is due to dock with the ISS on 7 April, bearing the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module packed with "supplies, a new crew sleeping quarters and science racks that will be transferred to the station's laboratories".
The 13-day mission will feature "three spacewalks to switch out a gyroscope on the station's truss, or backbone", during which crew will "install a spare ammonia storage tank and return a used one, and retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station's exterior".
Up on the orbiting outpost, meanwhile, crew TJ Creamer, Oleg Kotov and Soichi Noguchi yesterday welcomed aboard NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Alexander Skvortsov, who blasted off aboard the Soyuz TMA-18 from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome at 04:04 GMT on Friday.
The sextet comprise Expedition 23, full details of which can be found here. ®
The purpose is...
... the advancement of science and our knowledge of the universe, curiosity about which is what makes us what we are. But neanderthals like yourself probably can't get your brain cell around such concepts. Just... go back to your cave and sharpen your spear or something, and leave us members of Homo sapiens to discuss our future.
Are you a troll or on idiot?
Took my kids out of school in Feb to see the "LAST" night-time launch of the space shuttle - went to Titusville (TWICE) at 4 in the morning to see it. This one also went at night in the end, at the much more civilized time of 6ish. Last year I bought Timeshare in Funchal, and you see what happened? So, if any of you want a company shorted, let me know and I'll buy some shares.
Seriously though, all the best to the crew. As for those who think space travel is a waste, I invite you to avoid doing everything that isn't strictly necessary. For most of you, that will include breathing. The invite stands.