Press Release

NSS Hails Milestone in Space History

By SpaceRef Editor
October 24, 2007
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NSS Hails Milestone in Space History
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The space shuttle Discovery launched successfully today on a path towards the International Space Station (ISS), where shuttle commander Pamela Melroy will meet with station commander Peggy Whitson to complete their two-week space station construction mission. The launch of Discovery marks the first time in the 50-year history of spaceflight that two women are in charge of two spacecraft at the same time.

The National Space Society celebrates the efforts of Commander Melroy and Commander Whitson, whose hard work and dedication to a free and cooperative space future will have an impact on us all for years to come.

George Whitesides, Executive Director of the National Space Society, stated, “Discovery’s launch begins a milestone in space history. We wish commanders Melroy and Whitson the best of luck for a successful mission. Space is an environment where we see the best of humanity, and the best of America, and Melroy and Whitson represent that excellence.”

Whitson, the first female space station commander, and Melroy, the second female shuttle commander, will oversee the complicated procedures that are scheduled to occur during the Discovery crew’s mission. The shuttle is transporting a pressurized compartment, named “Harmony” by U.S. students in a nationwide contest, that will provide docking ports for the upcoming European and Japanese laboratory that will launch over the next few months. The crew will attach the Italian-made Harmony compartment to the space station in addition to reconfiguring the ISS’s girder and solar wings. Harmony is designed to allow for the compatibility of international components, symbolic in its own way of the cooperation and teamwork that the International Space Station embodies.

The 14-ton Harmony unit will be the connecting point between the U.S. Destiny lab, the European Space Agency’s Columbus module and the Japanese Kibo module. The next two shuttle missions will bring these modules to the ISS for connection by early 2008. The crew will also conduct five space walks totaling 30.5 hours to complete their mission. NASA plans at least eleven additional flights to the ISS for its scheduled completion by 2010 when the space shuttle will be retired.

National Space Society
Katherine Brick
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (202) 429-1600

SpaceRef staff editor.