NASA announced the STS-133 crew on September 18, 2009 and training began in
October 2009. STS-133 was originally scheduled for launch on September 16, 2010.
In June 2010 the launch date was moved to the end of October 2010.
On November 5 2010,
Discovery's liftoff to the International Space Station was postponed because of
a leak in the ground umbilical carrier plate (GUCP) at Launch Pad 39A, which
prompted a scrub of the launch attempt.
Discovery's six STS-133 astronauts left NASA's Kennedy Space Center in their
T-38 jets shortly after 3 p.m. EDT, November 5, to return home to NASA's
Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Mission managers examined a crack in the external tank foam that
developed as supercold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen were being drained from
the tank. Inspection of the tank revealed cracks in foam insulation in the
flange between the intertank and liquid Oxygen tank. The cracks are believed to
have occurred about an hour after super cold propellants began flowing into
Discovery's external tank for the 05 November launch attempt. The cracks in
Discovery's tank are the first to be found at the launch pad.
On December 17, 2010 NASA shuttle managers stated that more tests and analysis
are needed to determine the problems on the space shuttle.
Steve Bowen replaced Tim Kopra as Mission Specialist 2 following a bicycle
injury on January 15, 2011 that prohibited Kopra from supporting the launch
window. Bowen last flew on Atlantis in May 2010 as part of the STS-132 crew.
Flying on the STS-133 mission will make Bowen the first astronaut ever to fly on
Space Shuttle Discovery was launched on February 24, 2011 and landed on March
* STS-133 left Leonardo (one of the three Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules) on the Space Station as a Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM).
It was to be used primarily for storage of spares, supplies and waste on the ISS.
* The Express Logistics Carrier 4 (ELC4) carried several Orbital Replacement
Units (ORUs). A Heat Rejection System Radiator (HRSR) Flight Support Equipment (FSE),
which took up one whole side of the ELC. The other primary ORU was the ExPRESS Pallet Controller Avionics 4 (ExPCA #4).
Space Shuttle Discovery carried Robonaut 2 to the International Space
Station. Robonaut 2 was the first humanoid robot in space and although its
primary job for in 2011 was teaching engineers how dexterous robots behave in space,
the hope is that through upgrades and advancements, it could one day venture
outside the station to help spacewalkers make repairs or additions to the
station or perform scientific work.
* Space Shuttle Discovery was set to carry SpaceX's DragonEye (DE) relative
navigation sensor on STS-133. The sensor is expected to be installed two weeks
later than planned, following a laser rod failure during testing.
* STS-133 carried the signatures of more than 500,000 students who are
participated in the 2010 Student Signatures in Space program, which was jointly
sponsored by NASA and Lockheed Martin. The students added their signatures to
posters May 2010 as part of the annual Space Day celebration. Through their
participation, students also received standards-based lessons that contained an
exciting space theme. Student Signatures in Space has been active since 1997. In
that time, nearly 7 million studentsí signatures from 6,552 schools have been
flown on 10 Space Shuttle missions.
* Also aboard Discovery were hundreds of flags, bookmarks and patches
which were handed out when the mission returned. The mission will also flew two
small LEGO space shuttles in honor of a new educational partnership between Lego
and NASA. Astronauts also carried personal mementos including medallions with
connections to their schools or military service as well as a William
Shakespeare action figure from the University of Texas English Department. A
stuffed giraffe mascot from the Hermann Childrens' Hospital at the University of
Texas, T-shirts from Lomax Junior High School in La Porte, Texas, a blue, one
from a volunteer fire department and a Hawaiian shirt from NASA Johnson Space
Center's Education Office.
1. Steven W. Lindsey (Commander)
2. Eric A. Boe (Pilot)
3. Benjamin Alvin Drew, Jr. (Mission Specialist 1)
Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr. will be the last African-American astronaut to fly on
the space shuttle.
4. Steve Bowen (Mission Specialist 2)
5. Michael R. Barratt (Mission Specialist 3)
6. Nicole Stott (Mission Specialist 4)
Note: Bowen replaced astronaut Tim Kopra, who was injured in a bicycle accident
in January 2011.