KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., Aug.29 /PRNewswire/ -- Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off today on a 13-day mission to deliver more than seven tons of supplies, science racks and environmental hardware to the International Space Station marking the start of the transition from assembling the ISS to using it for continuous scientific research.
"This mission is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire human space flight team," said Mark Nappi, Vice President of Florida Operations for United Space Alliance (USA). "The ISS is making great progress, the Space Shuttle continues to perform, and we're making important decisions about the future of exploration. It's an exciting time to contribute to this effort."
USA, NASA's prime human spaceflight contractor, processes and prepares each Space Shuttle for launch. On average, a Shuttle processing flow requires 750,000 man hours and involves thousands of tasks aimed at preparing the orbiter, the two solid booster rockets and the external fuel tank for launch.
On this mission Discovery will carry the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module that serves as a pressurized cargo carrier. Leonardo will carry 15,200 pounds of cargo including two major additions to Station research facilities - the Materials Science Research Rack-1 and the Fluids Integrated Rack, a freezer to store research samples, a new sleeping compartment and the COLBERT treadmill. STS-128 also will deliver a new crew member to the Station and return another after almost 1.5 months aboard the Station.
During STS-128 crewmembers will participate in science investigations geared at gathering data about sustaining life in space environments, docking and rendezvous technology, materials science, and physiological studies. Space Shuttle Discovery also will return to Earth with scientific samples from current Station science studies including experiments geared at nutrition, immune system investigations, and physical and biological sciences.
"The Space Shuttle team is an experienced and trusted group," Nappi said. "It is their commitment that enables the Space Shuttle to be such a versatile and reliable vehicle for human space flight. We're looking forward to watching this mission advance the Space Station and our human presence in orbit."
About United Space Alliance:
United Space Alliance is a world leader in space operations with extensive experience in all aspects of the field. Headquartered in Houston, USA has more than 9,000 employees working in Texas, Florida and Alabama. Currently, USA is applying its broad range of capabilities to NASA's Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation programs as well as to space operations customers in the commercial and international space industry sectors.
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