Learn about the launch and mission of the space shuttle Discovery, under command of Jim Wetherbee.
Read the full transcript »
Learn About the Discovery's Space Mission Part 1/3 This is the space shuttle Discovery blasting into space into chute of the International Space Station. Her mission, to continue the outfitting of the International Space Station particularly the new laboratory destiny. It also brings to the station a new crew to replace three astronauts who have already spent more than four months in space. On board commanding the mission, U.S. Navy Captain Jim Wetherbee, his pilot air force Lieutenant Colonel Jim Kelly, mission specialist Dr. Andy Thomas, and Paul Richards, a mechanical engineer. Their short-term colleagues, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachov, commander of the second expedition to the International Space Station and his American crew mates, flight engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms, Helms, a U.S. air force colonel with four shuttle missions to her credit. The crew transfer, the first for the station, is among the machine’s top priorities. Another key element of the mission, the deployment of Leonardo, a multi-purpose logistics module. Leonardo is a pressurized moving van that carries more than five tons of equipment and supplies that must be transferred from Discovery to the ISS. It’s designed to be attached to the space station and then after unloading brought back to the orbit as cargo bay for return to Earth. Once Discovery had bridged the gap to the international space station, Wetherbee flew Discovery to a position about 300 feet in front of the station then moved in toward a docking board attached to the end of the station’s destiny laboratory. During the docking, Pilot Jim Kelly helped control Discovery’s approach as astronauts Andy Thomas and Paul Richards managed the shuttles’ docking mechanism and rendezvous tools. Using a view from a camera mounted in the center of Dicovery’s docking mechanism, Wetherbee sent in the docking ports of the two spacecraft precisely double checking the alignment 30 feet out. The final approach was at a relative velocity of 1/10 of a foot per second. When Discovery made contact with the station’s docking board on destiny, latch is automatically connected the two spacecrafts as they flew high over the seventh Pacific Ocean just east of New Zealand. Once relative motion between the spacecrafts stopped, Thomas retracted the docking ring on Discovery’s mechanism closing latches to firmly secure the shuttle to the station. After completing leak and pressure checks, Wetherbee in Discovery and Bill Shepherd, commander of the Expedition 1 crew opened the hatches on pressurize mating adaptor number two. Expedition 2 commander Yuri Usachov let his crew mates into the destiny laboratory and began getting acquainted with his new home in orbit. Once settled into their new quarters, the crews quickly went to work, Jim Voss and Susan Helms carried out a seven-hour space work while stumbled the shuttle Andy Thomas powered up the robot arm and maneuvered Leonardo, the multi-purpose logistics module out from Discovery’s payload bay and carefully aligned it with the birthing mechanism on the docking board of the unity module and mated the two together. All is now in readiness for the deployment of the new equipment for the International Space Station, the primary purpose of mission STS-102. Its day 7 on board the international space station and space shuttle Discovery and the astronauts and cosmonauts are back at work transferring supplies and equipment to outfit the station’s second resident crew. Vision specialist Andy Thomas kept track of the items as they left the multipurpose logistics module, Leonardo. Station’s Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Sergei Krikalev of the Z floating soft storage bags out of the MPLM into the Unity Node and then onto their final locations inside the ISS. Oncoming station flight engineer Susan Helms retrieved her custom-fitted seat liner for the Soyuz spacecraft and her Soyuz spacesuit and took them to the Russian spaceship docked to the Zaria module. Once the seat liner was insta