Double delight greets viewers of Discovery launch

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Double delight greets viewers of Discovery launch

Madelain TiganoThe Corsair

Spectators at the Kennedy Space Center got a double treat today as they gathered before dawn to witness the International Space Station cross the moon about 15 minutes before Discovery launched in a spectacular show.

The pre-dawn launch was right on schedule at 6:21 a.m. this morning.

“With the shuttle going up through sunrise we got a really good look at the tank as we went up hill and it looked to be performing in fantastic shape,” Mike Moses said, chair of the Mission Management Team.

The launch is just the start for the STS-131 crew. They have many obstacles and workloads to perform in their 13-day mission.

On the third day in the flight mission, Commander Alan Poindexter and Pilot Jim Dutton will fly Discovery to the ISS for docking.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency President, Keiji Tachikawa, expressed his gratitude and excitement for JAXA astronaut Naoka Yamazaki to be a part of the STS-131 mission.

“I am confident that astronaut Naoka Yamazaki will be able to accomplish her duties successfully,” Tachikawa said.

Yamazaki is the loadmaster for the mission and will be responsible for all payload and transfer operations. She is the second Japanese woman to fly in space, after the first in the 1980’s.

“It was an amazing to watch that wonder launch and we are looking forward to an outstanding mission, and looking forward to the plan and mission here at Kennedy Space Center on April 18,” Pete Nickolenko, STS-131 launch director, said.

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