Archive - Mar 25, 2009
American billionaire Charles Simonyi is gearing up for his second trip to space as a paying civilian.
Set to launch Thursday at 7:49 a.m. EDT (1149 GMT) on a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Simonyi will become the first two-time space tourist. He is to ride along with the International Space Station (ISS)'s new Expedition 19 crewmembers, NASA astronaut Michael Barratt and Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka.
Simonyi paid about $35 million to the Russian Federal Space Agency, through the U.S. firm Space Adventures, for his 13-day trip to the orbiting laboratory. He plans to conduct scientific experiments, take pictures of Earth and talk to students around the world via HAM Radio. He said he hopes to accomplish even more than he did during his first trip in 2007.
The space shuttle Discovery's crew is expected to complete its mission to the International Space Station with a landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:43 p.m. EDT on Saturday, March 28. The return to Earth will conclude a 13-day flight. Nine of those days were spent docked to the station.
During the STS-119 mission, the shuttle and station crews installed and deployed the final set of solar arrays. The arrays provide the electricity to fully power science experiments and support the station's expanded crew of six in May. The flight also delivered Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, who replaced space station crew member Sandra Magnus. She spent more than four months aboard the station and will return to Earth aboard Discovery.
ISS Pass Over Puerto Rico & Joseph Acaba Was Calling Puertorican Stations on March 24, 2009 At 2:45pm Local Time.
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The crew of space shuttle Discovery is slated to leave the International Space Station today.
The STS-119 and Expedition 18 crews will bid one another farewell and close the hatches between the two spacecraft at 12:53 p.m. EDT. Discovery is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 3:53 p.m.
STS-119 arrived at the station March 17, delivering the final pair of power-generating solar array wings and truss element to the station.
In addition, the STS-119 astronauts delivered Expedition 18 Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata, who replaced Sandra Magnus, now a mission specialist returning to Earth aboard Discovery.