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Discovery, Harmony Ready for Launch


*Discovery, Harmony Ready for Launch*
20 October 2007

Discovery's crew. Image Above: Commander Pam Melroy and pilot George 
Zamka leave the Shuttle Training Aircraft after practicing landings at 
NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The aircraft is modified to 
behave much like a shuttle gliding back from space. Image credit: 
NASA/Kim Shiflett
+ View larger image 

NASA managers overseeing the launch preparations for STS-120 said space 
shuttle Discovery is ready for two weeks in space.

"All of our systems are in good shape," NASA Test Director Charlie 
Blackwell-Thompson said.

The extensive staff of engineers who conduct the countdown will report 
to the Launch Control Center on Saturday afternoon and the countdown 
will begin at 2 p.m.

The Italian-built Harmony module Discovery is carrying to the 
International Space Station is also in good shape, payload manager Glenn 
Chin said. The station segment weighs more than 31,000 pounds and will 
serve as a connecting point for laboratory modules from NASA and the 
European and Japanese space agencies.

Weather officer Kathy Winters pointed to some concerns that rain showers 
and clouds could interfere with Discovery's launch. She said there is a 
60 percent chance of favorable weather at launch time. Liftoff is 
scheduled for 11:38 a.m. Tuesday.

Discovery's crew of seven astronauts arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space 
Center on Friday. They have been going through final checklists and 
preparations of their own for Tuesday's planned lift off.

Crew members Pam Melroy and George Zamka flew simulated space shuttle 
landings early Saturday morning aboard a Gulfstream business jet 
modified to mimic the flight characteristics of a gliding shuttle.

STS-120 is scheduled to return to Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility at 
4:47 a.m. Nov. 6.

*Mission Information*
+ STS-120 Mission Overview 
+ Harmony Node 2 

+ Space Shuttle Discovery 
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