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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Space shuttle DISCOVERY heads toward pad LC-39A on September 20, 2010, in preparation for her November launch on STS-133.
NASA

BACK AT THE PAD...for one last time. There are still 41 days left before she launches on her very last space shuttle flight, but Godspeed anyway, Discovery.

Space shuttle DISCOVERY heads toward pad LC-39A on September 20, 2010, in preparation for her November launch on STS-133.
NASA / Jim Grossmann

Space shuttle DISCOVERY sits on her launcher platform at LC-39A on September 21, 2010...beginning preparations for her November mission, STS-133.
NASA / Jim Grossmann

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PHOTO OF THE DAY... Below is a God's-eye view pic of the orbiter Endeavour being transported atop a modified Boeing 747, a.k.a. a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. An orbiter relies on this jumbo jet to ferry it back to KSC whenever it lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a shuttle mission. In Endeavour's case, the last time this will presumably happen again will be next February...when Endeavour launches on mission STS-134. Endeavour having one last homecoming in the Golden State will obviously depend on weather conditions, both in Florida and California, on landing day. That is all.

Space shuttle Endeavour is transported from Edwards Air Force Base in California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida...atop a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
NASA

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The orbiter DISCOVERY is rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for STS-133 launch preparations, on September 9, 2010.
NASA / Jack Pfaller

THE BEGINNING OF THE END...for Discovery, that is. Of course, I said the same thing about Atlantis when it launched on space shuttle flight STS-132 last May. But in Discovery’s case, today’s rollover to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida should indeed begin the final curtain call for NASA’s oldest orbiter. Discovery will be attached to its external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters later today in preparation for STS-133, scheduled for launch on November 1st. The space shuttle program, as of right now, is supposed to end after next February’s STS-134 mission with Endeavour. But if NASA includes an additional flight (STS-135) to launch next June as expected, then Atlantis will be assigned to that mission. That is all.

The orbiter DISCOVERY is rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for STS-133 launch preparations, on September 9, 2010.
NASA / Dimitri Gerondidakis