Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 10:39 a.m. EDT July 26, 2005, returning to flight more than two years after the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy of February 1, 2003. Nine minutes later, Discovery reached orbit. On its 13-day mission the shuttle crew will test new methods of repairing damage to the Space Shuttle and dock with the International Space Station. While docked, the Discovery crew will deliver supplies, install equipment, and replace a faulty gyroscope on the station. Discovery will return to Earth on August 7th.
International Space Station Astronaut Leroy Chiao, like the rest of NASA, tracks key milestones for the Space Shuttle Return-to-Flight operations. A lucky overpass of the Space Station over Florida on April 6, 2005, allowed Leroy and his crew mate Salizhan Sharipov a unique view of the rollout of the Space Shuttle Discovery. At the time of his observations, Discovery was approximately midway between the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.