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The launch of the space shuttle has been delayed for at least two days.

Amir Burnett tells about the missions of the Discovery crew members on mission STS-116

Amir Brent - The Israeli Astronomical Society

Today (Friday) the launch of the space shuttle Discovery, mission STS-116, was supposed to take place. A few minutes before the end of the countdown the launch was canceled due to low clouds and chances of rain, currently the next launch date is early Sunday morning (Saturday evening US time).

This launch, the 33rd in number of the space shuttle Discovery is to the International Space Station, the main task of the astronauts is to assemble a component called P5 which will be able to rotate the solar panels directly to the sun and increase their utilization. For this purpose, the astronauts will have to disassemble parts that have been exposed for a few years to the harsh conditions that prevail in space (vacuum, strong radiation, extreme temperature differences, etc.), which may prove to be problematic.

The astronauts Korb and Vogelsang train in special floatation pools
The astronauts Korb and Vogelsang train in special floatation pools
The shuttle crew consists mostly of astronauts who will be on their first mission, except for Mark Polanski who will be the mission commander who previously launched on the STS-98 mission. Among the astronauts is Christer Fuglesang, the first Swede to be sent into space on behalf of the European Space Agency. In addition to being an astronaut and a doctor of particle physics, Christer was in the past the Swedish champion in throwing flying saucers (Frisbees) and may use his stay to break world records in the field, in an interview with the ABC network he said that in any case He does not plan to take her on his spacewalk, since then "it will surely be my last flight". Astronaut Sunita Williams (Williams) will remain at the end of the mission at the International Space Station. The Discovery team includes 7 astronauts and in addition to them there are currently two astronauts and a cosmonaut on the International Space Station.

Space Shuttle STS-116 crew
Space Shuttle STS-116 crew
The shuttle will be launched from platform 39B. This launch will be the last since the platform will now be converted to use Ares-1 (Ares-I) missiles which will be part of NASA's plan to return to the moon and even reach Mars. This will be a full circle, as platforms 39A and B were originally built in the 60s as backup sites for the Apollo moon launches. With the closing of these launch docks the ferry fleet is marching towards retirement. Since the crash of the space shuttle Columbia, among the crew members of which the late Col. Ilan Ramon perished about 4 years ago, the shuttle launches have been suspended and now the rate of launches is starting to increase, the next shuttle launch is planned for March 2007, the last shuttle launch is planned for 2010. The shuttles will be used mainly to assemble the International Space Station, but a pilot mission is also planned to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. Flights for research purposes such as the one in which the late Ilan Ramon participated were completely canceled.

Installing the P5 component

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