National Geographic

Launch Coverage: Discovery’s Hatch is Closed…

The crew is now securely in the shuttle and the hatch has been closed in preparation for the 4:50pm ET launch of Discovery this afternoon. Everything is still looking good with no technical issues being worked and weather still holding at 90% go for launch.

It was an on time walk out from the crew quarters to the “AstroVan” for the six astronauts. They exited the building to a massive crowd of press and supportive family and friends cheering them on. A last minute crew change to replace injured astronaut Tim Kopra means that Steve Bowan will be in one of the Mission Specialist spots for this flight.

133-crew-walkout.jpg—Image Credit: Susan Poulton


133-crew-walkout-van.jpg—Image Credit: Susan Poulton


—Susan Poulton works for National Geographic Digital Media and is a self-proclaimed space geek. Since graduating from Space Camp in 1987, she’s been fascinated by all things space and can’t resist sharing this passion with others. A veteran of 15 launches (and over 46 launch attempts), she has attempted to see every space shuttle launch since STS-114 in 2005.