Saturday, May 31, 2008

Space Shuttle Discovery, Minnesotan, and Buzz Lightyear, in Orbit

Exciting times:
  • "Discovery in Orbit"
    NASA (May 31, 2008)
    • "Space shuttle Discovery rocketed into space safely this evening to begin a 14-day mission to attach a new scientific module to the International Space Station. Launch came at 5:02 p.m. EDT from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and set Discovery on a trajectory to intercept the space station in two days...."
  • "Minnesota native counting down to Discovery launch"
    KARE 11 (May 31, 2008)
    • "An astronaut who grew up in Minnesota is about to become one of only a half-dozen from the state who have gone to space.
    • "Karen Nyberg is from the tiny town of Vining, which is located about 27 miles east of Fergus Falls. She graduated from Henning High School in 1988. She'll join a mission to the International Space Station on Saturday, conditions permitting.
    • "All of Vining will be watching when the second of three flights brings components to the Japanese Kibo laboratory...."
    • "...Also being squeezed on board is a Disney action figure, Buzz Lightyear. It'll spend several months at the space station as part of an educational program for math and science teachers and their students."
  • " 'To Infinity - and Beyond!' Buzz Lightyear Goes Into Space"
    Apathetic Lemming of the North (May 29, 2008)
    • "...I'm a bit of a Buzz Lightyear fan, so this is good news for me. It's also part of a NASA "Toys in Space" educational program. Buzz Lightyear is scheduled to be in orbit for six months...."
  • "Shuttle Discovery Launches Space Station's Largest Lab" (May 31, 2008)
    • "CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's shuttle Discovery rocketed into space Saturday with a massive Japanese laboratory bound for the International Space Station."
    • "Discovery shot up into the sky at 5:02 p.m. EDT (2102 GMT) from its seaside Launch Pad 39A here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center carrying what will soon be the largest single room aboard the space station - the tour bus-sized main cabin of the Japan's Kibo ("hope" in Japanese) laboratory."
There's more about the Kibo lab at "Space Shuttle Mission Loaded with 'Hope' " ( (May 27, 2008)). " 'This is a big milestone for the Japanese community,' said Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who will ride aboard Discovery as a mission specialist to help install his country's new lab. 'A lot of people worked on this for 20-plus years, so this is really a mission to make a dream come true. It's the same for me.' "

It's a big accomplishment, as well as a big lab. At this point, the experiments planned are for life science, materials science and fluid mechanics.

I think Japan has a great deal to be proud of with the Kobe lab and what it's expected to do - and I'm rather pleased with the American contribution, too.

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