Science and Technology News

Saturday, February 26, 2011

STS-133: Discovery Launches Into History

Mike Curie/STS-133 Launch Commentator: Go for main engine start. We have main engine start. 2 . . . 1 . . . booster ignition.

And the final liftoff of Discovery! A tribute to the dedication, hard work and pride of America's space shuttle team.

The shuttle has cleared the tower.

Josh Byerly/STS-133 Ascent Commentator: Discovery now making one last reach for the stars.

Discovery's engines are now throttling down as the orbiter passes through the area of maximum pressure reducing the stress on the shuttle as it goes supersonic.

Charlie Hobaugh/STS-133 CAPCOM: Discovery, Houston, you are go at throttle up.

Steve Lindsey/STS-133 Commander: (Inaudible)

Josh Byerly/STS-133 Ascent Commentator: Commander Steve Lindsey acknowledging the call from CAPCOM Charlie Hobaugh as Discovery's three main engines throttle back up.

Lindsey is joined on the flight deck by Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialist Al Drew and Nicole Stott. Mission Specialist Mike Barratt and Steve Bowen.

Discovery's three main engines are burning fuel at a rate that would drain an average swimming pool in about 25 seconds. The engines, combined with the solid rocket boosters, produce more than 7 million pounds of thrust.

One minute, 50 seconds into the flight, we're standing by for separation of the twin solid rocket boosters. Discovery now traveling 2,695 miles an hour. It's altitude 24 miles. Downrange from the Kennedy Space Center 29 miles.

Booster separation confirmed. Discovery's guidance is now converging as the shuttle's onboard computers fine tune the flight.

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