STS-124 Discovery brings Hope to the space station
5/31/08 ~ 5:02:12pm

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The Space Shuttle Discovery brings Japan's science laboratory Kibo, or Hope, to the International Space Station. Kibo is the largest science module on the ISS with the main module being 37 x 15 feet long and wide, respectively. Consisting of three parts, the smaller logistics module was brought up on STS-123 in March, and an exterior science platform will be attached in 2009. STS-124 was the 123rd shuttle flight since 1981, the 35th for Discovery - the most flown shuttle - and when completed leaves just 10 shuttle flights left in the program.

Workers prepare Kibo
      RSS rollback       Crew walkout

Discovery & ISS over Daytona       Landing

STS-123                                                      STS-126 --->

In these rare backside views, large chunks of debris can be seen raining down into the water some 2,000 feet north of the pad! They are pieces of the flame trench and other pad surfaces, which sustained highly unusual damage during this launch, the most since the start of the shuttle program; a 75 x 20-foot section of the trench wall was ripped off. This photo was subsequently used by NASA in its inquiry and shown during the press conference covering the matter. It was also aired on multiple national and local news stations across the country:

CBS / SpaceflightNow stories: 
1   2   Images
Four hours after launch, Discovery's plume, still over Florida, is bathed in the colors of the setting sun at high altitude:
The NASA TV still from the press conference on the pad damage: