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Fuglesang lifts off

TT/AFP/The Local · 29 Aug 2009, 10:20

Published: 29 Aug 2009 10:20 GMT+02:00

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The launch went according to plan and after eight minutes the Discovery was orbiting the earth.

“It was an extemely memorable moment to be able to see Christer step into the clouds on the warm August night in Florida. The ground vibrated from the power released from the enormous rockets. Everything went really well,” Olle Norberg, general director of the Swedish National Space Board (Rymdstyrelsen) told TT.

Norberg, who was at Kennedy Space Center for takeoff, was happy that Fuglesang will once again be able to see the International Space Station (ISS).

“It's great for Christer to be able to come to ISS and see it almost finished. It has been three years since he was last there.”

Fuglesang's first space mission was in 2006.

The Swedish delegation celebrated the occasion with the traditional meal that is eaten every time a shuttle is sent up – baked beans and corn bread.

“The atmosphere here at Kennedy Space Center is really great. The stress is totally gone,” Norberg said.

This is NASA's 128th space mission. The Discovery will deliver equipment and necessities to ISS during its 13-day journey. Three space walks are scheduled and Fuglesang will take part in two.

The Discovery is scheduled to dock at ISS on Sunday night.

This wasn't the first time Fuglesang and the other six crew members had strapped themselves into the shuttle this week. Tuesday's first attempt was cancelled shortly before liftoff when weather conditions were deemed too dangerous, and two subsequent attempts were thwarted by problems with a liquid hydrogen fill-and-drain valve.

NASA engineers eventually discovered that the problem was caused by false instrument readings and devised a method of determining if the valve was properly closed in case the instruments malfunction again.

Story continues below…

The process of filling the shuttle's external tank with nearly two million liters (500,000 gallons) of liquid hydrogen and oxygen began at 2:45 pm (1845 GMT) after a slight delay due to stormy weather near the launch site.

The Discovery is carrying seven tonnes of equipment to ISS. In addition to the seven crew members, there are also six mice on board the space shuttle. Three of them have manipulated genes to be used in research related to the loss of bone mass, in hopes of finding new treatments for treatment of bone brittleness.

In the hours leading up to takeoff, Fuglesang wrote several messages on Twitter. In his final post, sent around five hours before takeoff, he wrote:

"T-4:50 Ate my hamburger. We get dressed in 20 minutes. 'Signing off' again and hope to be back online in 2 weeks (and not before :-) )."

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:05 August 29, 2009 by peropaco
With all of the Swedish media attention around this launch, one would think the space ship and all its technology was swede. Does anyone know the names of the other astronauts? I think not.
13:18 August 29, 2009 by Captcha
peropaco, what's wrong with you? Why read THE LOCAL if you hate the idea of Swedish pride?
15:51 August 29, 2009 by Mzungu

His problem! Had a promise last night,that wasn't fulfilled...
16:10 August 29, 2009 by Freebie
As an American with very cherished Swedish friends (and Godson), I witnessed, from my front yard in Florida, the launch of this space shuttle rise into the heavens. Not only did I experience at that moment pride for MY country, but also for Sweden and all my Swedish friends.
16:27 August 29, 2009 by peropaco

as a Swede, I have all the right to give my opinion on al lthe hoopla around this launch.
16:58 August 29, 2009 by jose_s
right on Freebie! may all the astronauts make it safe home to their families......
23:59 August 29, 2009 by lingonberrie
Sweden needs to have a space program on par with NASA.

NASA indoctrination policies start with the United States Government. That agency tells their astronauts what they are allowed to say about what they see and what they do, and what they write about concerning their flights, until they die.

Other Nation's astronauts have also flown with the NASA program, and will continue to do so, including Russians.

When missions are of a "National Security" type, (and that rubric has been trotted-out so regularly by the U.S. that any validy is lost) no one but Americans will be aboard.

I believe that the United States is still playing catch-up with the Russians, unless both are in collusion, and that both of them would be eons behind had the Germans re-started a space program after WWII.
20:26 August 30, 2009 by Leprehcaun
@ lingonberrie

"Sweden needs to have a space program on par with NASA. "

HAHAHA, I'm sure hoping you're joking.. That would be amazing to see. A nation of 9.3 million's space program competing with a nation of 300 million's space program. I'm not saying it's impossible. Let's see.

First we need to invade Norway and force them to leave for Denmark (if we are going to keep a population of 0.3 million) to get their oil, then we need to kidnap everyone at NASA, increase taxes to 95%, close down all schools and hospitals and all other significant expenses. Then we might be able to do it with 9.3 million people.

Then ofc, why would we do all that to destroy the environment? NASA x2? A space race to Mars? All the Co2.. and just what would we gain on this? Squat.
23:07 August 31, 2009 by lingonberrie
Had the United States not had access to the German scientists after WWII, they would still be shooting off firecrackers in their back-yards and calling them rockets.

Germany has much less land area and population than the United States, yet they have produced and continue to produce some of the best scientists in the world, and some of the best educated students in the world.

Population and land mass has nothing to do with intelligence or education. Two thirds of the United States high school students have a poor grasp of mathmatics, and a large portion of them are nearly illiterate after they leave high school.

Not many among their formally educated have the capacity for critical thinking.

You are a Swede. Act like one.
17:49 September 1, 2009 by mkvgtired
lingonberrie, You clearly have never heard of many of the world renowned technical schools in the US; MIT, SOCAL, U of Chicago, and many many more. The US has many other world renowned schools of other concentrations as well. German technology and know how did help the US, but many of the scientists were Jewish (including Einstein) and had to flee Europe. You make it sound as if we stole them for our gain, on the contrary the Europeans drove them out. I agree with you, you should have pride in your country but Swedish pride does not equal anti-Americanism. If you have to bash another country to make yourself feel better it just highlights your insecurities and magnifies their accomplishments. Just a tip.
19:12 September 1, 2009 by lingonberrie
Read The Rise of The Fourth Reich and come here and lecture me about the United States.

Your CIA was made professional by the likes of General Rheinhardt Gehlen. He was an SS intelligence officer of the highest caliber who the United States recognized as an asset to their system. He did not run from anyone, he was hired by the Americans, and there were hundreds like him, some from the Gestapo.

That is just one instance, and that instance was documented well before the book that I mention above was printed or the author was alive.

You have a fairy-tale notion of your country, time that you grew up and accepted reality.

As well, I have five years of university education so I am well aware of your "reknowed" schools in the United States, and especially of the Skull and Bones Society of your "renowned" East Coast Elitist Yale, of which your "reknowned" moron geroge w bush was a charter member.
20:44 September 1, 2009 by mkvgtired
I also have a university education. I do not know why people like you always seem to think a university education somehow means you are superior to someone else intellectually. The US and Israel have brought more Nazis to justice than any other nations. So you brought up one example, I guess it still beats shoving the local Jewish populations into cattle cars to be shipped off to their deaths.
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