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Discovery arrives at launch pad for one last time


Space shuttle Discovery silhouetted against the dawn sky. A NASA file photo

CAPE CANAVERAL (BNS): US space shuttle Discovery arrived at the launch pad in NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida early on Tuesday ahead of its final voyage to the International Space Station scheduled for November 1.

The spacecraft, which rolled out from the vehicle assembly building on Monday, was secured on the launch pad 39A at 0549 GMT on Tuesday, NASA said.

Carrying the six-member STS-133 mission, Discovery will embark on its last space sojourn on November 1. The spacecraft, which has served NASA for nearly three decades, will then gracefully bow out.

The STS-133 crew members will take important spare parts to the ISS along with the Express Logistics Carrier-4. The mission will also deliver replacement parts for the Italian-made Pressurised Multipurpose Module ‘Leonardo’, which will be permanently attached to the orbital station.

NASA has decided to retire three of its space shuttles – Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis – by 2011 as it is giving shape to a new ambitious space programme under which it aims to send astronauts to explore space objects and even fly to Mars.

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Discovery  NASA  

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