Space Shuttle Discovery resumes rollout to launch pad

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Orbiter Discovery moves to launch pad 39B on Wednesday

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

NASA reports that the Return to Flight mission has started to roll toward the launch pad once again.

The rollout of the shuttle Discovery, scheduled for April 5 around midnight local time, was moved forward as a precaution when a small crack was discovered in the foam insulation on an external fuel tank. Officials decided it was no reason for concern.

As of 2:04 p.m. EDT (18:04 UTC) today the orbiter began inching out of the Vehicle Assembly Building's hanger at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and onto the access road for the launch pad 39B. It is expected to reach the launch pad around 8 p.m. EDT.

The actual launch window for the 114th Space Shuttle flight, and the 31st flight of the orbiter Discovery, will be no earlier than May 15 to June 3, 2005.

The trip to the International Space Station, "Return to Flight" STS-114, will last 12 days and be the first flight since the Shuttle Columbia tragedy in 2003. This flight will test a new robot extension arm, the Canadian-built Orbiter Boom Sensor System, used to repair the exterior of the International Space Station.

The Space Shuttle goes from standing still on the launch pad to more than 17,000 miles per hour in just over eight minutes. That means the astronauts go 2,000 miles per hour faster every minute.


NASA First Motion: Discovery Starts Crawling to the Launch Pad April 6, 2005