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October 23, 2007

Harmony in Space

Heads up! The Space Shuttle Discovery is on schedule to launch at 11:38 a.m. Eastern time, Tuesday October 23. Inside the payload bay is a new “room” for the International Space Station. This important connector will mount to the Destiny lab and provide attach points for the European Columbus module and the Japanese Kibo module.

The bus-sized new piece used to go by the mundane name of Node 2. But the students of Brigette Berry’s 8th grade class at League City Intermediate School in League City, Texas, and Bradley Neu’s 9th grade science class at Lubbock High School in Lubbock, Texas, won a NASA contest with the name Harmony. These students will be at Kennedy Space Center to view the launch of STS-120, the 23rd shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

Commanding the flight is Col. Pamela A. Melroy (USAF, ret.). Melroy is the second woman to command a shuttle. Marine Corps Col. George D. Zamka is the pilot. The mission specialists are Scott E. Parazynski, Army Col. Douglas H. Wheelock, Stephanie D. Wilson, and Paolo A. Nespoli, a European Space Agency astronaut from Italy—where Harmony was built. Zamka, Wheelock and Nespoli are making their first spaceflights.

Also onboard is Daniel Tani who will replace Expedition 15/16 Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson. Tani will return on shuttle mission STS-122.

This 14-day flight will feature five spacewalks. Parazynski, a physician trained in emergency medicine, is the chief spacewalker. He has already been in space four times and made 3 spacewalks. Joining him outside will be Douglas Wheelock, a pilot with a masters’ degree in aerospace engineering. Besides the installation of Harmony, they will be removing the P6 solar array from atop the Z1 truss (at the center of the truss) and moving it to its portside home. Considering how much trouble previous crews had getting this oldest of the arrays to fold up, it will be interesting to see if this crew can get it moved and back out of its box.

For the latest news on this flight, visit

Go Discovery!

Marianne Dyson

Posted by george_whitesides at October 23, 2007 03:07 AM



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