Discovery Set to Launch October 23rd

NASA announced today that the space shuttle Discovery has been officially targeted for an October 23rd launch. If all goes well, the shuttle will blast off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral at 11:38 a.m. EDT, carrying 7 astronauts into space to meet up with the International Space Station – mission STS-120 will be on its way.

There was a slight safety concern that might have held back the launch. NASA’s Engineering and Safety Center had raised awareness that there might be a problem with the reinforced carbon on three of Discovery’s wing leading edge panels. Agency officials met to discuss the situation, and decided that the panels didn’t need to be replaced before the mission.

During their 14 days in space, the shuttle crew will install the new Harmony module onto the International Space Station. This will serve as a hub for future international laboratories.

The crew will have their work cut out for them, though. They’re scheduled to make 4 spacewalks, and the station crew will complete one as well.

Discovery is expected to return back to Earth on November 6th.

Original Source: NASA Shuttle News