1 June :Space shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven have blasted into orbit, carrying a giant Japanese lab addition to the international space station along with something more mundane — a toilet pump.
Discovery roared into a brilliant blue sky dotted with a few clouds at 5:02 pm (local time), right on time.The shuttle’s trip to the space station should take two days.
Once there, Discovery’s crew will unload and install the USD one billion lab and hand-deliver a specially made pump for the outpost’s finicky toilet.
The school-bus-size lab, named Kibo, Japanese for hope, will be the biggest room by far at the space station and bring the orbiting outpost to three-quarters of completion.
"It’s a gorgeous day to launch," NASA’s launch director, Mike Leinbach, told the astronauts just before liftoff, wishing them good luck.Commander Mark Kelly noted that Kibo was the "hope for the space station," then radioed: "Now stand by for the greatest show on Earth!"
Nearly 400 Japanese journalists, space programme officials and other guests jammed NASA’s launch site, their excitement growing as the hours, then minutes counted down.
Their enthusiasm was catchy."This is a real milestone," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said.The Japanese lab is 11 metres long and more than 14,515 kgs, and fills Discovery’s entire payload bay.
The first part of the lab flew up in March, and the third and final section will be launched next year. Courtsey : DD NEWS