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Countdown begins for shuttle launch
Posted: Thu, May 29, 2008, 5:32 AM ET (0932 GMT)
STS-124: logo (NASA) NASA started the countdown Wednesday for Saturday's scheduled launch of the space shuttle Discovery while making a last-minute addition to the orbiter's cargo to deal with a problem on the ISS. The countdown for the launch of mission STS-124 formally started at 4 pm EDT (2000 GMT) Wednesday at the T-43 hour mark, with liftoff scheduled for 5:02 pm EDT (2102 GMT) on Saturday, May 31. NASA has reported a record low number of technical glitches leading up to the launch, and forecasts call for an 80-percent chance of acceptable weather for launch. The primary purpose of the mission is to deliver the main section of the Japanese lab module Kibo to the ISS, as well as replace current ISS crewmember Garrett Reisman with Greg Chamitoff. On Wednesday NASA decided to add about 15 kilograms of spare parts for the station's main toilet, which recently malfunctioned. Technicians took out some non-essential cargo on the shuttle to make room for the spare parts.
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