Discovery Lands; Atlantis Moves to Launch Pad

Shuttle Discovery made its next to last landing as NASA officials prepare for the last handful of shuttle missions. Atlantis moves to the launch pad for its final trip in May. Laurie Johnson reports.

Just three remaining shuttle flights are scheduled before NASA retires the fleet.

Each flight is intended to bring parts and supplies to the International Space Station.

Shuttle Launch Manager Mike Moses calls the 15-day Discovery mission unbelieveably successful.

“You guys saw a pretty busy mission. The crew was really hopping the whole time they were in orbit with three EVAs. Had a couple issues that, while minor in terms of technical problems, did cause some challenges. The K-U band failure on the shuttle really made the teams come up with other ways to get video and imagery down to the ground.”

Discovery’s mission included three space walks to install a large coolant tank on the ISS.

Shuttle Atlantis will fly the next mission in May. Launch Director Pete Nickolenko says Atlantis will move to the launch pad this week.

“We’re in great shape to move towards progress for a launch on May 14. We’re really happy to have Discovery back on the ground and ready to get back on with business with STS-132 for support of the May launch.”

NASA planned to retire the shuttle fleet in September. But additional equipment needed on the space station could delay the retirement date by a few weeks.

Shuttles Atlantis, Endeavour and Discovery each have one remaining flight before the program ends.

 Discovery landing



Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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