CAPE CANAVERAL – NASA’s sleek T-38 Talon jets roared in for a landing at Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) ahead of schedule. Shortly afterward mission Commander Steve Lindsey made brief comments about the upcoming mission and how the crew was all set to fly. Each of the crew’s six astronauts gave a brief introduction and introduced one another.
The week’s activities are what is called Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test or TCDT as it is more commonly known. This training consists of various launch and rescue procedures.
The crew of STS-133 consists of Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists, Michael Barratt, Tim Kopra, Alvin Drew and Nicole Stott. They are sent to launch on space shuttle Discovery’s final mission on Nov. 1 at 4:40 p.m. The 11-day mission will deliver the Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module with the first humanoid robot to fly into space – Robonaut-2 (R2) inside. The flight will also carry the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier – 4 as well as other much-needed supplies.
This week the crew will train on the tank-like M-113 personnel carrier which will whisk the crew away in the advent of an emergency. They will conduct a simulated launch countdown and practice numerous and essential emergency exercises. This week’s events will mark the final milestone on the road to launch.