November 10, 1999
KSC Contact: Joel Wells
KSC Release No. 141-99

Towering atop the mobile launcher platform and crawler transporter, Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to emerge from the Vehicle Assembly Building at about 2 a.m. this Saturday. Discovery is expected to arrive at Launch Pad 39B by 8 a.m. to undergo final preparations for the STS-103 launch, targeted for Dec. 6.

The crawler transporter takes about 6 hours to complete its 4.2-mile trip to the pad. Soon after its arrival, the Rotating Service Structure will extend around the vehicle and launch pad validations will proceed through the weekend.

Orbiter Discovery arrived in KSC’s Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) on June 6 after completing mission STS-96, and moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building on Nov. 4. While in the OPF, Discovery underwent meticulous wiring inspections, repairs and protection efforts during a fleet-wide wiring investigation along with standard processing. After being mated to the external tank in VAB high bay 1, Discovery’s main engine No. 3 and a range safety cable for the solid rocket boosters were removed and replacement efforts will conclude prior to the Shuttle’s move to the pad.

Mission STS-103 is designed to replace worn parts on the 9-year-old Hubble Space Telescope and to upgrade other systems on the space observatory. All of the six gyroscopes that provide Hubble’s pointing capability will be replaced on orbit along with other equipment like a guidance sensor and main computer. Four spacewalks are planned to support this flight. Commander Curt Brown, Pilot Scott Kelly; Payload Commander Steven Smith; and Mission Specialists Michael Foale, John Grunsfeld, Claude Nicollier, and Jean-Francois Clervoy make up the 7-member flight crew.

The cargo required to support the third Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission was delivered to the launch pad on Nov. 8 and will be installed into the orbiter’s payload bay on Nov. 16. The payload interface verification tests begin later that week.

The Shuttle flight crew is slated to arrive at KSC Sunday, Nov. 14 to participate in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT), set for Nov. 16 and 17. TCDT is held prior to each Space Shuttle flight and provides the crew opportunities to participate in full-dress, simulated countdown activities at KSC.

Discovery and crew are scheduled to launch on Dec. 6 at 2:37 a.m. marking the 27th flight of this orbiter. After 9 days and 21 hours in space, the second oldest orbiter in the fleet returns to KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility Dec. 15 at 11:57 p.m.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Accredited news media interested in viewing rollout activities should report to the KSC Press Site by 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13 for departure at 7 a.m. Video footage and still photos of Discovery’s move to the pad will be available at the Press Site. Media can monitor any updates to the rollout by calling the codaphone at 321-867-2525.