Home Space Go-ahead for Shuttle mission STS-120
NASA officials have selected October 23 as the launch date for the next Space Shuttle mission.

There had been some concerns about Discovery's readiness, specifically involving the condition of its wing leading edge panels, but "After a thorough discussion and review of all current engineering analysis, we have determined that Discovery's panels do not need to be replaced before the mission," said Bill Gerstenmaie, NASA associate administrator for space operations.

A primary task for STS-120, commanded by Pam Melroy, is to deliver and fit the Harmony module to the International Space Station. Harmony's role is to act as a port for future laboratory modules. The European Columbus and Japanese Kibo modules are scheduled to join the ISS during the following two Shuttle missions.

The STS-120 crew will also relocate solar arrays on the station.

The mission will be commanded by Pam Melroy. Other crew members are pilot George Zamka and mission specialists Scott Parazynski, Stephanie Wilson, Doug Wheelock, Daniel Tani and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency.

Tani will remain on the ISS until STS-122 (scheduled for early December), while Clayton Anderson, currently part of the ISS crew, will return to Earth aboard Discovery on November 6.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.


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