Feeds

Discovery poised for final mission

Everything 'going beautifully' for launch tonight

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Space shuttle Discovery is poised to launch tonight on its 39th and final mission – a last trip to the International Space Station which will end a career stretching over 26 years.

The rotating service structure moves away from space shuttle Discovery. Photo: NASANASA last night retracted the rotating service structure which protects the venerable vehicle on Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A – ahead of pumping "more than 535,000 gallons of super cold liquid hydrogen and oxygen" into its external fuel tank this morning.

Mission management team head Mike Moses said yesterday: "Everything is on track and going beautifully with the countdown. We're really looking forward to a very action-packed, successful mission and everything is on track."

Shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach added: "We're not tracking any issues and it looks like Discovery will fly this time."

Weather officer Kathy Winters described conditions at Kennedy as "exceptional", with "only a 20 percent chance that weather will be prohibitive at launch time".

Discovery will bow out by delivering vital spares and the converted multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo to the orbiting outpost. Leonardo – now dubbed the Permanent Multipurpose Module – is set for attachment to the Earth-facing side of the orbiting outpost's Unity node.

The STS-133 mission crew comprises commander Steven Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe, and mission specialists Michael Barratt, Steve Bowen, Alvin Drew, and Nicole Stott. Bowen and Drew are scheduled to carry out two maintenance spacewalks.

Also on board for Discovery's swansong is Robonaut 2, aka R2, which will become "the first human-like robot in space" designed "to demonstrate how dexterous robots behave in space".

Robonaut shakes hands with with his human counterpart. Pic: NASA

R2 will travel inside the Leonardo module for later unpacking and testing. The immediate ambitions for the robonaut are modest, but NASA hopes that "through upgrades and advancements, it could one day venture outside the station to help spacewalkers make repairs or additions to the station or perform scientific work".

Discovery is due to blast off at 21:50 GMT. NASA's STS-133 mission section is right here. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.