Local students sign on for space shuttle


When STS-120, the 120th mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle program, launches this Tuesday, October 23rd, it will be carrying a full crew of astronauts – and also a little bit of Switzerland County.

On board Tuesday’s flight will be posters carrying the signatures of elementary children from Switzerland County Elementary School and Jefferson-Craig Elementary School. Students signed their names last spring, and school officials have now been notified that Switzerland County signatures will be onboard Tuesday’s shuttle flight.

The collection of the signatures was part of the “Signatures in Space” program, and Tuesday’s mission will be the Space Shuttle “Discovery”. It will be the 23rd space shuttle mission to go to the International Space Station.

Retired Air Force Colonel Pamela A. Melroy will serve as the commander on the mission; which is taking a connecting module to the space station. The mission will also serve as a transfer vehicle, picking up Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson, who has been working at the space station; and dropping off his replacement, Daniel Tani.

Other crew members on Tuesday’s flight include pilot George D. Zamka; mission specialist Scott Parazynski; mission specialist Douglas Wheelock; mission specialist Scott Parazynski; and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo A. Nespoli of Italy.

Tuesday’s launch is set for Tuesday at 11:33 a.m., but launch officials say that there is only a 10-minute “launch window”, so if there is bad weather, then officials will move the launch to the next day.