Government // Leadership
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8/26/2009
07:34 AM
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It's TGIF For 'Colbert Shuttle'

NASA now hopes to launch Discovery and COLBERT exercise device on Friday.

NASA's COLBERT Treadmill
(click image for larger view)
NASA's COLBERT Treadmill

With two scrubs in two days, NASA officials are hoping the weekend will bring a little more luck to efforts to launch the space shuttle Discovery. The craft is now slated to lift off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Friday.

The pre-dawn launch is scheduled for 12:22 a.m. on Aug. 28.

NASA scrubbed the Discovery launch for a second straight day Tuesday as a pre-launch inspection revealed a faulty hydrogen valve. The shuttle was to have lifted off early Wednesday.

"Engineers will evaluate a liquid hydrogen valve that developed problems during tanking operations Tuesday evening," NASA said in a statement. "Detailed test data about the valve will be examined before Discovery’s fuel tank is loaded with propellant ahead of Friday morning’s launch attempt," NASA added.

The COLBERT treadmill is among the numerous pieces of equipment that will be on board Discovery when it lifts off. The exercise device is named after comedian Stephen Colbert. Discovery also will carry to the ISS the Leonardo supply module, which features refrigerator-size storage racks.

STS-128, as the mission is called, will be commanded by veteran astronaut Rick "C.J." Sturckow. Joining him are six other space goers, including pilot Kevin Ford and mission specialists Patrick Forester, Jose Hernandez, Nicole Stott, and John Olivas. Christer Fuglesang will represent his native Sweden on the mission.

The crew arrived at Kennedy last week for prelaunch preparations.

"It's great to be here for the launch," said Sturckow. "We've been studying and training hard, and we're ready to go accomplish this mission."

NASA officials anticipated a successful launch, but are now dealing with a series of glitches.

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