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The Mission




Orbiter: Discovery
Mission: STS-124
Payload: Kibo lab
Launch: May 31, 2008
Time: 5:02 p.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: June 14 @ approx. 11:15 a.m. EDT
Site: Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC

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The Crew




Meet the astronauts flying aboard Discovery's STS-124 mission.

Meet the Astronauts

CDR: Mark Kelly

PLT: Ken Ham

MS 1: Karen Nyberg

MS 2: Ron Garan

MS 3: Mike Fossum

MS 4: Akihiko Hoshide

Up: Greg Chamitoff

Down: Garrett Reisman

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Video archive

STS-124 day 1 highlights

The highlights from shuttle Discovery's launch day are packaged into this movie.

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Discovery rolls out

Discovery travels from the Vehicle Assembly Building to pad 39A in preparation for the STS-124 mission.

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STS-124: The programs

In advance of shuttle Discovery's STS-124 mission to the station, managers from both programs discuss the flight.

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STS-124: The mission

A detailed preview of Discovery's mission to deliver Japan's science laboratory Kibo to the station is provided in this briefing.

 Part 1 | Part 2

STS-124: Spacewalks

Three spacewalks are planned during Discovery's STS-124 assembly mission to the station.

 Play

STS-124: The Crew

The Discovery astronauts, led by commander Mark Kelly, meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.

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More video



Space shuttle pad repair options being debated
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: June 16, 2008

Engineers assessing extensive damage to launch pad 39A during the shuttle Discovery's May 31 takeoff said Monday they are confident the "flame trench" that diverts exhaust to either side can be repaired in time for NASA's next mission, the Oct. 8 launch of shuttle Atlantis on a flight to service the Hubble Space Telescope.


The news media was given a close-up tour of the pad damage on Monday. Credit: Ben Cooper/Spaceflight Now
SEE MORE IMAGES FROM MONDAY HERE | EARLIER GALLERY HERE

 
Repair options will be presented to shuttle Program Manager John Shannon on June 26, leaving about two months to complete the pad rehab before the planned Aug. 29 rollout of Atlantis.

"We feel we're on the right path for a design solution and we're working to get there," Perry Becker, chief of NASA's structural systems branch at the Kennedy Space Center, told reporters Monday. "We're working very extensively with a few vendors in industry, we're starting to put that plan together. ... We're confident, regardless of the scope of the work here, that we can repair this pad in time and support the rollout."

During Discovery's takeoff, some 5,300 heat-resistant bricks lining the northeast wall of the flame trench under the shuttle's mobile launch platform were blown away, some blasted more than 1,800 feet, heavily damaging a security fence around the pad perimeter. The interlocking bricks, held in place by epoxy and metal clips anchored in concrete, are used to protect an underlying 3-foot-thick concrete wall that helps form the structural backbone of the pad.

The missing bricks exposed an irregular area of the concrete wall measuring roughly 20 feet by 75 feet. New bricks cannot be manufactured in time to support the Hubble mission, but Becker said engineers believe the trench can be repaired by stripping away additional bricks around the damage area, erecting a steel mesh framework and then spraying on a thick coating of a refractory material like Fondu Fyre.

A five-inch-thick coating of Fondu Fyre currently covers the inverted V-shaped flame deflector that diverts main engine exhaust to one side of the pad and booster exhaust to the other. About 20 feet of the flame trench extending from the deflector on the booster side already is covered by Fondu Fyre, giving way to bricks. The idea would be to extend that coating to cover the areas damaged during Discovery's launching.

"We're certainly looking strongly at Fondu Fyre, we've got a history with it out here, we know its properties," Becker said. "There are a couple of other materials on the market that we're looking at, so we haven't down selected that definitively. But it is a leading candidate."

Despite the intense heat and pressure produced by the shuttle's solid-fuel boosters, Becker said the Fondu Fyre coating the flame deflector holds up well to the extreme heat and pressures produced by the shuttle's huge solid-fuel boosters.

"The erosion rate we would expect on the side walls (of the flame trench) would be very, very minimal based on some Fondu Fyre that we have up near the main flame deflector itself," he said. "That has performed very well."

It is not yet known how many more bricks will need to be stripped away or how large an area might ultimately be covered by Fondu Fyre, assuming program managers approve that approach.

"I like to talk about it as if you're redoing tile in your bathroom at your house," said Ed Mango, launch director for the Hubble servicing mission. "One tile gets loose, then you've got to chase it. This is a similar thing. The tile in your shower is there to protect the wall behind it. We have the brick here to protect the concrete behind it. Of course, the over pressure and the amount of water is much worse!"

Looking at trowel marks on the exposed concrete, engineers believe the epoxy used to help hold the bricks to the wall was not uniformly applied. So-called "tap tests" have revealed possible voids behind other sections of the flame trench where bricks are still in place. Engineers also are taking core samples and performing "pull tests" to further characterize the remaining bricks.

"We have seen indications on the visibly damaged sections of trowel marks in some areas on the wall there that shows less than full engagement of the bricks to the back wall structure when it was originally manufactured," Becker said. "Certainly, that is one component of several possibilities of the root cause of failure."

Becker downplayed the question of whether the original construction was flawed, saying "there's no such thing as a perfectly vertical or smooth wall. So there are going to be voids and surface imperfections, that's common in the construction industry."

The Hubble crew cannot take advantage of "safe haven" aboard the international space station if Atlantis suffers any damage that might prevent a safe re-entry. As a result, NASA plans to have a second shuttle, Endeavour, ready for takeoff from nearby pad 39B if a rescue mission is required.

Both shuttle pads were built in the 1960s for the Apollo moon program and engineers are carrying out tests and inspections to assess the health of pad B.

"We're evaluating that state of pad B as we speak and if we find anything, we'll take the appropriate action," Becker said.

First used in 1967, pad 39A has withstood 12 Saturn 5 launchings, including the first Apollo moon landing mission, and 70 shuttle flights. Pad 39B, first used in 1969, supported one Saturn 5 launch, four Saturn 1B flights and 53 shuttle missions, including Challenger's final flight.

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VIDEO: SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S LANDING AS SEEN LIVE PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS' POST-LANDING PRESS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: LANDING REPLAY: VAB ROOF CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LANDING REPLAY: RUNWAY CLOSE-UP PLAY
VIDEO: LANDING REPLAY: RUNWAY WEST PLAY
VIDEO: LANDING REPLAY: RUNWAY EAST PLAY
VIDEO: LANDING REPLAY: INFRARED TRACKING CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LANDING REPLAY: CAMERA ON NORTH END OF RUNWAY PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 14 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: CBS NEWS AND WCBS RADIO INTERVIEW THE CREW PLAY
VIDEO: HOUSTON GIVES CREW A REPORT ON OBJECT, TAIL PLAY
VIDEO: AREA OF INTEREST ON SHUTTLE TAIL FIN PLAY
VIDEO: OBJECT SEEN FLOATING AWAY FROM THE SHUTTLE PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 13 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 12 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF HEAT-SHIELD INSPECTIONS PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF DISCOVERY'S UNDOCKING PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 11 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: FAREWELL CEREMONY BETWEEN SHUTTLE AND ISS CREWS PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY
VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 10 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: JOINT CREW IN-FLIGHT NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: KIBO LAB'S ROBOT ARM EXTENDED AND CHECKED OUT PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF ROBOT ARM DEPLOYMENT PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 9 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF SPACEWALK NO. 3 PLAY
VIDEO: ANIMATION OF NITROGEN TANK REPLACEMENT PLAY
VIDEO: SUNDAY'S FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 8 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: JAPANESE VIP CALL TO STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: MEDIA INTERVIEWS WITH SHUTTLE AND ISS CREWS PLAY
VIDEO: KIBO LAB'S ROBOTIC ARM FLEXES FOR FIRST TIME PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF ARM'S FIRST MOVEMENTS PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY
VIDEO: CREW'S DOWNLINKED REPLAY OF LOGISTICS MODULE MOVE PLAY

VIDEO: LEFT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING UPWARD PLAY
VIDEO: LEFT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING INBOARD PLAY
VIDEO: LEFT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING DOWNWARD PLAY
VIDEO: RIGHT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING UPWARD PLAY
VIDEO: RIGHT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING DOWNWARD PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 7 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE CREW ASKED TO TAKE PHOTOS OF WING PANELS PLAY
VIDEO: JAPANESE LOGISTICS MODULE MOVED TO KIBO LAB'S ROOF PLAY
VIDEO: STATION'S ROBOT ARM GRAPPLES LOGISTICS MODULE PLAY
VIDEO: MEDIA INTERVIEWS WITH SHUTTLE AND ISS COMMANDERS PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF LOGISTICS MODULE MOVE PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 6 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: BUZZ LIGHTYEAR TOY ON THE LOOSE IN SPACE PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS INVITE VIEWERS TO DINNER PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: INSPECTION OF THE PORT-SIDE SOLAR ROTARY JOINT PLAY
VIDEO: FAULTY TV CAMERA REMOVED FROM STATION PORT TRUSS PLAY
VIDEO: THERMAL SLEEVE PLACED ON KIBO TRUNNION PIN PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH LOCKS RELEASED ON KIBO'S UPPER PORT PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKERS INSTALL PAIR OF TV CAMERAS ON KIBO PLAY
VIDEO: MIKE FOSSUM EMERGES FROM AIRLOCK FOR EVA NO. 2 PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF SPACEWALK NO. 2 PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY'S FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 5 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ENTER THE KIBO MODULE FOR FIRST TIME PLAY
VIDEO: CEREMONY BEFORE KIBO HATCH OPENING PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: KIBO SCIENCE LAB ATTACHED TO THE SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: KIBO MODULE UNBERTHED FROM SHUTTLE PAYLOAD BAY PLAY
VIDEO: CLOSEUP INSPECTION OF STATION'S SOLAR ROTARY JOINT PLAY
VIDEO: FOSSUM UNBOLTS LOCKS ON KIBO'S WINDOW COVERINGS PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKERS REMOVE COVERS ON KIBO'S PORT PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE POWER UMBILICALS UNHOOKED FROM KIBO PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE INSPECTION BOOM RETRIEVED FROM THE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER RON GARAN REMOVES COVER ON BOOM PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER MIKE FOSSUM FREES ARM'S ELBOW CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: ANIMATION OF KIBO MODULE INSTALLATION PLAY
VIDEO: ANIMATION OF INSPECTION BOOM RETRIEVAL PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF SPACEWALK NO. 1 PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: CREW'S REMARKABLE CAMCORDER FOOTAGE FROM MONDAY PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE CREW WELCOMED INTO STATION PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY DOCKS TO SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE PERFORMS RENDEZVOUS BACKFLIP PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED ANIMATION OF PREVIEWING THE DOCKING PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: CREW'S CAMCORDER FOOTAGE FROM FLIGHT DAY 2 PLAY
VIDEO: SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: ANIMATION OF THE HEAT SHIELD INSPECTIONS PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED TOUR OF DISCOVERY'S PAYLOAD BAY PLAY

VIDEO: THE FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: EXTERNAL TANK SEEN AFTER SEPARATION PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: VAB ROOF PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-1 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-2 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-6 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: FRONT CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: BEACH TRACKER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS-12 TRACKER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS-23 TRACKER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PLAYALINDA BEACH PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PRESS SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: WEST TOWER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 009 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 041 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 049 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 050 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 051 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 054 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 060 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 061 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 063 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 070 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 071 PLAY

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VIDEO: ONBOARD CAMERA FOOTAGE OF TANK FOAM FALLING PLAY
VIDEO: INSIDE MISSION CONTROL DURING LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: POST-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY

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VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE AT LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS QUARTERS FOR LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS DON SPACESUITS FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED RECAP OF KIBO LAB'S PRE-FLIGHT CAMPAIGN PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED RECAP OF DISCOVERY'S PRE-FLIGHT CAMPAIGN PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH PAD GANTRY RETRACTED FRIDAY NIGHT PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF GANTRY ROLLBACK PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S COUNTDOWN STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: BRIEFING ON KIBO LABORATORY FACILITY PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE AT THE CAPE FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S COUNTDOWN AND WEATHER BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED MISSION PREVIEW MOVIE PLAY

VIDEO: NEWS BRIEFING FOLLOWING FLIGHT READINESS REVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH COMMANDER MARK KELLY PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH PILOT KEN HAM PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS1 KAREN NYBERG PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS2 RON GARAN PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS3 MIKE FOSSUM PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS4 AKIHIKO HOSHIDE PLAY

VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS PRACTICE EVACUATION OF SHUTTLE PLAY
VIDEO: CREW BOARDS DISCOVERY FOR PRACTICE COUNTDOWN PLAY
VIDEO: TRAINING SESSIONS AT LAUNCH PAD AND BUNKER PLAY
VIDEO: CREW NEWS CONFERENCE AT LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE FOR PRACTICE COUNTDOWN PLAY

VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF GANTRY ENCLOSING DISCOVERY PLAY
VIDEO: PAD'S ORBITER ACCESS ARM SWUNG INTO POSITION PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF CRAWLER RETREATING AFTER ROLLOUT PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE DISCOVERY ROLLED TO PAD 39A PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAM BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: STS-124 MISSION OVERVIEW PART 1 | PART 2
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALKS PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: KIBO LABORATORY TRAVELS TO THE LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: TRANSPORT CANISTER WITH KIBO ROTATED UPRIGHT PLAY
VIDEO: CRANE PLACES KIBO MODULE INTO TRANSPORT CANISTER PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY HOISTED FOR ATTACHMENT TO FUEL TANK PLAY
VIDEO: THE SHUTTLE MOVES TO THE VEHICLE ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY
MORE: STS-124 VIDEO COVERAGE
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