Discovery Fueled, Ready for Launch


The Rotating Service Structure was moved back from space shuttle Discovery on Friday night in preparation for a launch Saturday. The enclosed RSS protects the orbiter while it is one the launch pad and gives workers access to most areas of the shuttle. Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

May 31
The external tank of space shuttle Discovery has been loaded with about 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as the countdown toward a 5:02 p.m. EDT liftoff continues smoothly. The hydrogen fuel and its oxidizer that are in the external tank will power Discovery’s three main engines during the 8 1/2-minute launch into orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The twin solid rocket boosters are shipped to the space center with propellant already packed inside the cylinder segments.

The weather is looking promising for launch day, according to Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. Isolated coastal showers may be in the area during the morning hours, but a sea breeze will develop in the afternoon, clearing the coast and causing any showers to move inland. There is an 80 percent chance of favorable weather at launch time.

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