A space shuttle launch was simulated today at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch exercise was one of the preparations to iron out the real launch of Discovery on July 13 or later.
The Discovery crew members suited up and strapped themselves into the space shuttle on the launch pad of Cape Canaveral. This is a milestone in NASA's return to flight as it has already been more than two years since the last space shuttle countdown.
Because it’s been more than two years since shuttle managers went through a countdown, they fully expected to encounter glitches during the rehearsal – and it didn’t take long for them to turn up: Just after the astronauts were strapped in, ground controllers found that they couldn’t communicate with crew members on the shuttle’s middeck, behind the cockpit. After about 10 minutes, engineers found the source of the problem: “I inadvertently turned the power switch off,” one worker reported.