Launch Preps Move Ahead for Mission to International Space Station

Space shuttle Discovery's airlock, which stands in the forward section of the cargo bay and connects to the crew compartment, will undergo two days of closeout work as the orbiter is prepped for next month's move to the Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking ahead of the targeted Nov. 1 launch on the STS-133 mission. Workers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the processing and launch site for all shuttle missions, are also flushing the piping in the spacecraft's vernier thrusters. In space, the vernier thrusters fire to make small changes to the shuttle's attitude and course.

The STS-133 astronauts are working at their training base at Johnson Space Center in Houston, with a focus today on spacewalk practice in the virtual reality lab.

During space shuttle Discovery's final spaceflight, the STS-133 crew members will take important spare parts to the International Space Station along with the Express Logistics Carrier-4. Discovery is being readied for flight inside Kennedy's Orbiter Processing Facility-3 while its solid rocket boosters are stacked inside the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building. STS-133 is slated to launch Nov. 1.