Discovery races towards International Space Station

16 Mar 2009

Seven astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery have just begun their 14-day STS-119 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) with a takeoff from Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center.

The Discovery shuttle, which was postponed from takeoff Wednesday last due to a hydrogen leak, will be in space for two days before docking at the ISS, upon which the crew will undertake three scheduled space walks.

Meanwhile as the shuttle nears the space station NASA has voiced concerns that space junk from a Russian satellite will also be orbiting nearby on Tuesday.

Later today it will be decided whether or not to fire up the space station’s engines to move it out of harm’s way, should the space junk come too close.

Discovery is one of NASA’s three operational orbiting space shuttles (the other two are Atlantis and Endeavour) and was the space shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope as well as carrying its the second and third service missions.

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