The countdown for launch of space shuttle Discovery remains on track this morning, with a beautiful evening and a full moon on the horizon to guide this flight toward the international space station.
Ahead today at Noon EDT, space shuttle launch control will begin the fuel loading of 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen & liquid hydrogen into the huge rust-colored external fuel tank [above, today at 8AM ET] - the next major milestone in preparation for Discovery's launch tonight at 9:20:14 pm EDT.
The fuel loading into the external tank - attached to the belly of the orbiter - will take approximately three hours to complete. During the following six hours, the LO2 & LH2 fuels will be topped off as they bleed into a gaseous state as the countdown moves toward zero.
Also, at about noon EDT, the seven member flight crew will be awoken to begin their launch day activities.
Led by STS-119 commander Lee Archambault, Discovery's crew of seven includes pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.