September 13, 2010

Discovery Nut Re-Attached As It Prepares For Final Voyage

NASA's shuttle Discovery is preparing to launch for its final voyage into space after technicians re-attached a main separation nut that fell off the shuttle Friday.

The space shuttle has been bolted to its external fuel tank and is ready to set out upon its 39th mission to the International Space Station on November 1st.

The shuttle had an internal nut fall out of position into the aft compartment during the preparations for the flight.

The bolts ensure that the fuel tank separates from the orbiter after the shuttle passes through the atmosphere.

Discovery is expected to be moved to the launch pad on September 21st and to be launched on November 1st.

The STS-133 crew will deliver spare parts, supplies and a new module to the ISS during Discovery's final mission.

The shuttle will dock with the ISS at around 1p.m. on November 3rd and will head back to Earth on November 10th.

The Endeavour will carry-out the last mission of the space shuttle fleet on February 26th.  It will mark NASA's 140th voyage.


Image Caption: Space shuttle Discovery was hoisted inside the Vehicle Assembly Building so it could be connected to its external tank and solid rocket boosters. Liftoff is targeted for Nov. 1 on the STS-133 mission. Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller


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