Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Discovery's crew arrives on the Space Coast

The crew of the next space shuttle flight arrived upon America's Space Coast Monday to begin three days of launch pad drills and emergency practices prior to their Easter Monday launch.

Led by mission commander Alan Poindexter, the seven member crew (above) includes pilot James Dutton, Jr, and mission specialists Rick Mastracchio, Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, Stephanie Wilson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger and Clayton Anderson.

Known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, the seven astronauts will learn their way around launch pad 39-A this week, and even don their launch suits and climb aboard shuttle Discovery in a few days for a practice countdown.

Most flight crews arriving here at the Kennedy Space Center for TCDT perform a traditional fly by of their spacecraft as she sits passively on her launch site.

Today, Discovery remains inside her hanger awaiting to be rolled out to her ocean side launch pad just after midnight on Wednesday morning.

The nearly seven hour shuttle move will help set the stage for the crew's launch a day after Easter, April 5.

Late this morning, the crew will receive some hands on training as they ride and even drive the M113 personnel carrier near launch pad 39-A.

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