Precisely as scheduled, the space shuttle Discovery launched from Cape Canaveral this afternoon on the mission to the International Space Station. With it’s 5.02pm EDT launch, Discovery is bringing the Kibo module to add to the ISS, which will be the largest module that will be attached to the station, thus continuing effort to complete the ISS in the next few years.
The Kibo module is from JAXA, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency. Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide will use the station’s remote arm to remove the Kibo module from the shuttle’s payload pay and attached it to the station.
Discovery is also bringing up some last minute components for ISS, as their waste disposal facility failed a few days ago. So in addition to adding the new module, swapping out tanks, and normal mission objectives, they will help the Expedition 17 crew fix the toilet. 🙂
Until docking with the station on Monday, Discovery will be visible in the evening skies tonight and tomorrow night, playing catch up to ISS. Check out the link int he right-hand menu for updated listings on when the shuttle and space station will be visible in your area.