Space Shuttle Launch Update: $1m lab and toilet pump for space station
The weather looks good and NASA have started fueling Discovery for the space shuttle launch late this afternoon, the external tank started receiving fuel at 7:38 a.m. EDT and it will take 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and hydrogen to fill it. NASA is currently reporting that all systems onboard Discovery are functioning normally and we are looking for the launch to go ahead as planned thanks to good weather.
The shuttle will be taking not only Japan’s precious $1m lab, but also something else that costs much less but is very precious. It’s a simple pump for the toilet, as you may have heard in the news earlier, the three occupants of the space station had to manually flush the toilet and this is a time-consuming job to keep doing several times a day with using extra water.
The toilet pump has come from Moscow just three days ago and officials hope it will solve the problem. The Japanese lab is really something special, it weighs 32,000 pounds and stretches 37 feet in length. This is the second part of the lab, the first reached the space station March 2007 and the third and final piece will fly up in 2009. This addition will be the biggest room by far and the lab has been named Kibo, this stands for “Hope” in Japanese.
You may think this one million dollar part of the lab is not a lot of money, but the entire Japanese lab will cost more than $2 billion. With an 80 percent chance of good weather, lets hope the launch goes to plan.
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