News / USA

    Shuttle 'Discovery' to Launch Monday

    NASA astronauts are readying for the launch of shuttle Discovery on Monday to deliver supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station. It is one of the final four missions planned for the shuttle fleet.

    NASA officials say the three-day launch countdown began Friday for the launch of Discovery and its crew of seven astronauts.

    Shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters says weather conditions should be good for the launch early Monday. She says the launch will occur shortly before the sun rises and casts sunlight on the rising shuttle and the smoke plume.

    "The top part of the plume will light up first and it will turn all those rainbow colors that we see when we have launches at dawn or dusk. It should be a beautiful sight," she said.

    NASA officials say recent shuttle missions have been crucial in the international effort to expand the space station and extend its lifespan in orbit. Shuttle vehicles can carry large amounts of cargo, which has been needed to deliver and install new modules to the station in recent months.

    NASA test director Steve Payne says officials are working to deliver as much equipment as possible, before the shuttle fleet retires later this year.

    "This one carries a lot of the experiment racks that we have. Laboratory staff is waiting for them, so we are going to be taking them up," he said.  "A lot of the heavy lift has to be carried up with shuttle, so we are taking advantage of all that," said Payne.

    Discovery is packed with nearly 12,000 kilograms of cargo, including an Italian-built module that will carry new supplies and science experiments for the International Space Station. Some of the experiments focus on studying how orbiting in space can affect the human body and plant growth.

    Mission payload manager Joe Delai says one experiment into muscle and bone loss could also have benefits for human life on Earth.

    "The more you study how astronauts can adapt themselves to long-term space flight, when it comes to muscle deterioration and bone loss, really the first derivative is osteoporosis," said Delai.  "There are so many benefits that come from the study of that to osteoporosis, and we have been doing that for years," he said.

    Delai adds it is important to study how the body struggles or adapts to life in orbit, in order to prepare for long-term missions in the future. He says one current study on tissue damage is being sponsored by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research near Washington.

    "Exposure to microgravity will cause the cells to react similar to the way a wound would act on the human body," Delai added.

    After this mission, there are only three more shuttle flights before the fleet is set to be retired. After Discovery returns, it will be readied again to perform the final shuttle flight in September.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora