STS -124 (English Space Transportation System) is the designation for a flight mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle Discovery ( OV -103 ) from NASA. It was the 123rd space shuttle mission, the 35th flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery and the 26th flight of the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch took place on 31 May 2008.

  • 4.1 Start, inspection and coupling
  • 4.2 Working on the ISS
  • 4.3 return


  • Mark Kelly ( third space flight), Commander
  • Karen Nyberg ( first space flight ), Mission Specialist
  • Ronald Garan ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Michael Fossum ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Akihiko Hoshide ( first space flight), Mission Specialist ( JAXA / Japan)

ISS crew Departure

ISS Expedition 18 17/ISS-Expedition

  • Gregory Chamitoff ( first space flight), flight engineer

ISS Crew Return

ISS Expedition 17 16/ISS-Expedition

Mission overview

The mission STS -124 brought another part of the Japanese Kibo module (Japanese Experiment Module - Pressurized Module, JEM -PM) and the Japanese robotic arm (JEM -RMS) to the International Space Station (ISS). In addition, the STS -123 delivered with ELM - PS module was moved to its final position.


The Discovery was moved shortly after returning from her last mission (STS -120) on 7 November 2007 in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF ). There was the follow-up of the orbiter and prepare for STS- 124.

The outer tank met on 25 March 2008 at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC ). This was taken to the Vehicle Assembly Building ( VAB ) to be connected there with the two necessary for starting solid rocket.

On April 26, the Discovery from OPF hangar was transported to the VAB. After mounting with external tank and solid boosters, the orbiter was rolled on 3 May to the launch pad 39A. Following the last two Flugbereitschaft decrease conferences on May 19, NASA confirmed May 31 as the official launch date. Two days before the start of the payload has been supplemented by a new toilet pump for the ISS after the old toilet ISS had failed a few days earlier. A few hours after May 28, the team had arrived from Houston coming at KSC, the countdown for STS -124 began.

Mission History

Start, inspection and coupling

At 22:30 UTC on May 30, the RSS Platform ( Rotating Service Structure) has been moved to its park position. On May 31, at 11:30 UTC, the filling of the outer tank began. The ECO sensors functioned, as in the last mission, easily. After the traditional breakfast, the crew went to the launch pad around 17:00 UTC 39A and climbed into the shuttle. The weather did not cause any problems, so that the Discovery was scheduled to take off at 21:02 UTC. Two minutes after launch, the solid rocket boosters were jettisoned, six and a half minutes later, the outer tank. After opening the cargo bay doors 90 minutes after the start of the team presented a slightly cracked heat protection mat on the left OMS pod firmly. It was found, however, that this has no effect on the re-entry. In addition, the backup system failed to move the starboard engine; However, the main system continued to function smoothly, and no further problems have arisen from it.

At the start, several pieces of insulating foam broke from the tank and met the Discovery. At the Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver on the third day of flying for the investigation of heat protection but no significant damage was detected. In contrast, the launch pad has suffered severe damage. As pointed out in a number of other starts, concrete slabs which cover the starting system is pushed out. It was unusual, however, that several firebricks were destroyed in a fire pit the launch site at the start and as debris rains destroyed a separation fence. In the intermediate case, no harm to people and the Discovery came to no damages have suffered. During the preparation phase on STS -125 is to be found out what exactly caused the incident; Moreover, the necessary repairs are made.

On the second day of flying an inspection of the heat shield was carried out, but only with the camera at the end of the robot arm of the shuttle. This occurred because the main module of Kibo is too large to ( OBSS ) can take them the orbiter boom sensor system in the payload bay, with the normally this investigation is carried out.

After a two-day approach and the Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver Discovery docked on June 2 at 18:03 UTC with the ISS. After the safety briefing and a tour of the station, preparations began on the first spacewalk (EVA ) on the following day. Furthermore changed with the exchange of customized Soyuz seats Gregory Chamitoff for Garrett Reisman in the Expedition -17 crew. Fossum and Garan evening, went into the station airlock Quest to breathe pure oxygen overnight and concentrated under reduced pressure. In this so-called Campout nitrogen is removed from the body tissue of astronauts to prevent the vacuum disease.

Work on the ISS

On the fourth day of flying, the first spacewalk of the mission began at 16:22 UTC. While the use of Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan first the OBSS was separated from the station and transferred to the robotic arm of the shuttles. This stood for 30 minutes after taking power. The low temperatures of outer space could damage the Roboterarmverlängerung after about two hours. Subsequently, Fossum and Garan went to located in the cargo bay of the shuttle Kibo module, to prepare it for transfer to the port side docking port of the Harmony module. After this was done, Kibo by Karen Nyberg and Akihiko Hoshide to his place was taken to Harmony. During this time, the two mission specialists went to the S4- lattice structure. There is a motor for SARJ rotary joint was replaced, while Fossum tried to remove space dust that had accumulated on the rotary rings with various tools and techniques of warranty. This should help to refine techniques for the STS-126 mission, so during that mission, the SARJ can be repaired. In the rotary joint in 2007 signs of wear were found that expressed by vibrations in the whole station. Since then, the pivot is usually switched off and is only as much as absolutely necessary moves. The SARJ aligns the large solar panels to the sun to convert as much solar energy into electrical energy. The withdrawal ended after six hours and 48 minutes at 23:10 UTC.

On the fifth day of flying the hatches were opened to Kibo at 21:05 UTC and began after an air inspection on the interior of the still empty module. Furthermore, preparations were made for the second exit and Fossum and Garan went into another campout. In addition, the broken space toilet was repaired in the Russian Zvezda module.

During the EVA on the sixth day of flying, which began at 15:04 UTC and seven hours and eleven minutes it took, the Japanese robotic arm was prepared for his start-up. Even cameras were mounted on the exterior of the new module and put a defective camera for repairs to the station. Furthermore, the delivered by STS -123 logistics module to its implementation on the following day as well as the installation of a nitrogen tank during the last exit were prepared.

Flight day seven initially served the implementation of the Kibo logistics module to its new location on the main module. After mounting the module, the interior work was continued. Furthermore, the Japanese robotic arm was first moved somewhat, but not extended.

After a rest day on the eighth day of flying, which ended with the preparations for the final spacewalk, Fossum and Garan went up on the ninth day of flying at 13:55 UTC from the last time out of the station. It was replaced with a " windshield wiper maneuver" with warranty at the end of Canadarm2, the empty nitrogen tank in the starboard beam against a newly filled from the camp in the port carrier, the camera checks attaching a Kibo outdoor camera, the repaired camera system mounted again at the P1 carrier, protective covers on cameras the Japanese robotic arm removed and taken control samples from intact larboard SARJ. The withdrawal ended after six hours and 33 minutes, at 20:28 UTC.

After the minimum movement of two joints of the ten -meter-long Kibo robotic arm on the seventh day of flying was the tenth day, in addition to preparations for the return of the Discovery, the full commissioning of the arm. All six joints and the associated brakes working properly.


The Discovery docked off at 11:42 UTC from the ISS on June 11. After that, the ISS was once flown around and the heat shield with the Orbiter Boom Sensor System ( OBSS ) is checked as this, as usual, was not possible on the second day of flying due to the size of the payload. Flight day 13 was largely the relaxation of the crew before the re-entry and landing. It only the OBSS were stowed in the payload bay and the orbit stabilized by ignition. On the 14th day of flying, the crew and the orbiter was preparing for landing. This means important for landing systems have been tested and found to be functional.

On 14 June ( flight day 15) the doors of the payload bay were closed and the preparations for the landing. At 14:10 UTC, the deorbit burn was carried out as planned and thus initiated the landing at KSC. The mission leadership opted for a landing on Runway 15, which in the direction of 150 °, ie runs from the northwest to the southeast, as this can cause the sun's rays have the commander complicates the approach. Promptly at 15:14 UTC landed the Discovery after 217 orbits at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Later, the Discovery was then placed in the Orbiter Processing Facility where it is prepared for its next mission (STS -119 ).