Shuttle Discovery moved to VAB ahead of May launch

Saturday, April 26, 2008

STS-124 mission patch

Today at 11:07 GMT (07:07 local time), US Space Shuttle Discovery departed its hangar at the Kennedy Space Center Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF), and was towed into the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), arriving at 12:05 GMT (08:05 local time). Its next scheduled launch, STS-124, is currently targeted for the end of May.

This procedure, known as a rollover, occurs around five to six weeks ahead of launch, and is followed by stacking, or attachment of Discovery to an external tank and a pair of solid rocket boosters, which are waiting in the VAB. Once this has been completed, electrical tests will be conducted on the Shuttle, and then it will be rolled out to Launch Complex 39A in a week's time.

Discovery's next mission, STS-124, will carry seven astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), and deliver the main component of the Japanese Experiment Module. The crew who are scheduled to fly aboard Discovery are mission commander Mark E. Kelly, pilot Kenneth Ham, mission specialists Karen L. Nyberg, Ronald J. Garan, Michael E. Fossum and Akihiko Hoshide, and Expedition 17 ISS crew member Gregory Chamitoff.