Shuttle Discovery Poised for Journey to Space Station
September 29, 2000
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
DISCOVERY LIFTOFF SET FOR OCT. 5 TO BEGIN SPACE STATION BUILD-UP
NASA managers set Oct. 5 as the launch date for Discovery on a mission
that will initiate the heart of construction for the International
Space Station (ISS), as the shuttle carries aloft a nine-ton exterior
framework and a three-ton docking port to be attached to the complex.
After the traditional Flight Readiness Review at NASA's Kennedy Space
Center, FL, Oct. 5 was selected for the launch of the 100th Shuttle
mission, designated STS-92. Discovery is targeted for a 9:38 p.m. EDT
liftoff from Launch Pad 39-A at Kennedy during a launch window no
longer than five minutes.
The exterior framework, called the Z1 truss, that will be attached to
the expanding station will house gyroscopes and communications
equipment that will provide future "balance" for the outpost, as well
as enhanced voice and television capability. In addition, a conical
mating adapter called Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 will be attached,
providing an additional shuttle docking port.
"The foundation for the International Space Station has been laid and
this mission begins the true station build-up in orbit," Space Shuttle
Program Manager Ron Dittemore said. "With multiple space walks planned
and multiple components to attach, we're taking the level of
complexity up a notch over the past few station construction flights."
Discovery will be commanded by Brian Duffy (Col., USAF). Pam Melroy
(Lt. Col., USAF) will serve as pilot. Mission specialists include
Leroy Chiao (Ph.D.), Bill McArthur (Col. USA), Jeff Wisoff (Ph.D.),
Mike Lopez-Alegria (Cdr., USN) and Koichi Wakata, representing NASDA,
the Japanese Space Agency.
During the 11-day mission, Wakata will use the shuttle's robotic arm
to attach the framework and mating adapter to the station's Unity
module. The other mission specialists will be divided into two space
walking teams to conduct four planned space walks to provide
electrical and data connectivity between the new components and the
existing station modules.
Discovery's flight will be the final shuttle mission prior to the
launch of the first resident, or Expedition, crew to the ISS, which is
currently targeted for Oct. 30 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in
Discovery's landing is planned for about 4:50 p.m. EDT Oct. 16 at