ONE STEP AT A TIME
The international effort to finish building the third brightest object in the sky, after the Sun and the Moon, got a boost today with the successful launch of the Space Station Discovery. The New York Times explains:
"The space shuttle Discovery, with its crew of seven astronauts, lifted off Saturday afternoon for a mission to take a tour-bus-sized science laboratory to the International Space Station, the $1 billion “Kibo” module.
The module is the largest part of three shuttle payloads that will bring the full Kibo assembly up to the station. It will be the largest “room” on the station, and will eventually sport an exposed area, like a back porch, where some experiments will be exposed to the harsh vacuum and temperature extremes of space."
This is the 123rd Shuttle mission, and nine more will be needed before the International Space Station (ISS) is complete, in all it's glory, spanning over two football fields.
As this Wikipedia excerpt remind us, it'll take almost a decade to finish:
It's easy these days to take Shuttle flights and Space Stations for granted, going on in the background as it were (unless of course when something going horribly wrong, which has happened more than we'd all like).
But it was a a beautiful, picture-perfect Shuttle launch today, and the work of science aloft continues. Great to see it live on TV every time.