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NASA Ames to Host Space Shuttle Discovery Launch Event

February 23, 2011

News media and the public are invited to observe the live televised broadcast of the launch of STS-133 space shuttle Discovery at 1:50 p.m. PST on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 in the Exploration Center at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. STS-133 is Discovery’s 39th and final scheduled flight, and the 35th shuttle mission to the station.

The six astronauts for Discovery’s 11-day mission will deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) to the International Space Station. The PMM can hold microgravity experiments in areas such as fluid physics, materials science, biology and biotechnology. Inside the PMM is Robonaut 2 (R2), which will become a permanent resident of the station. R2 will be used to test how dexterous robots behave in space. STS-133 also is carrying critical spare components to the space station and the Express Logistics Carrier 4, an external platform that holds large equipment. The mission will feature two spacewalks to perform maintenance and install new components on the station.

Commander Steve Lindsey leads the veteran crew, which includes Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Michael Barratt, Steve Bowen and Nicole Stott. Bowen replaced astronaut Tim Kopra, who was injured in a bicycle accident last month.

WHAT: An opportunity to watch the live televised broadcast of the launch of STS-133 space shuttle Discovery. The launch is scheduled at 1:50 p.m. PST on Feb. 24 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., and will be televised live on NASA TV. In addition to seeing the broadcast, attendees will hear remarks from former NASA astronaut Karol “Bo” Bobko. Matt Deans, computer scientist at Ames, will discuss Ames’ role in developing next-generation robotic systems like R2; Sidney Sun, manager of the Ames’ International Space Station Research Project, will explain the Mouse Immunology-2 experiment that will launch aboard Discovery. Following the launch, students will have an opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on educational activities.

WHERE: NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Exploration Center. The Exploration Center is located in the large white dome at the main gate. To reach Ames, take U.S. Highway 101 to the Moffett Field, NASA Parkway exit and drive east on Moffett Boulevard towards the main gate.

A NASA blog will provide countdown updates beginning at 8:30 a.m. PST Feb. 24. Originating from Kennedy’s Launch Control Center, the blog is the definitive Internet source for information leading up to lift off. During the mission, visitors to NASA’s shuttle website may read about the crew’s progress and watch the mission’s two spacewalks live.

For more information about the STS-133 mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

Mission Specialist Nicole Stott will tweet mission updates to her Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/astro_nicole

For more information about the space station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station




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