Discovery and the six astronauts she is carrying are now in orbit, on a final mission to the International Space Station. And what a breathtaking and beautiful launch it was! I wasn't there, but watched the live stream here with SpaceFlightNow and Miles O'Brien. From the NASA updates just now:
The STS-133 mission is delivering the Permanent Multipurpose Module
(PMM), a facility created from the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
named Leonardo. The module can support microgravity experiments in
areas such as fluid physics, materials science, biology and
biotechnology. Inside the PMM is Robonaut 2, a dextrous robot that
will become a permanent resident of the station. Discovery also is
carrying critical spare components to the space station and the
Express Logistics Carrier 4, an external platform that holds large
"With Discovery's mission, the United States once again reaches for
new heights, pushes the boundaries of human achievement and
contributes to our long-term future in space," NASA Administrator
Charles Bolden said. "Discovery's crew – including the first-ever
dexterous robot crew member, Robonaut 2 – will continue America's
leadership in human and robotic spaceflight, and support important
scientific and technical research aboard the space station."
The post-launch news conference is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET on NASA TV.
NASA Space Operations Outreach Manager Beth Beck tells Boing Boing,
Along with @Astro_Nicole, STS-133 crew member Robonaut2 has a twitter account: @AstroRobonaut. Robonaut is the first humanoid robot to live and work on Space Station. Tweet him. He's quite personable.