Discovery Launches, "It’s a great day.”
Photo: AFP/Robert Pearson
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER- Right on schedule and without a hitch, the space shuttle Discovery launched on NASA's first shuttle mission in two and a half years. There was a lot of pride and relief at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, which has played a huge role in the Return to Flight program. “We needed this,” said one worker after Discovery safely lifted off.
Two former NASA Langley workers are astronauts aboard Discovery – Charlie Camarda and Stephen Robinson. “I think it’s wonderful and I think everybody’s very excited. It was just so smooth and just wonderful," said Ginger Dutuis, an information systems specialist. “Human space flight is a big past of the agency and this one had some special significance to Langley because we had played a big role in that – all the way from the accident investigation, preparing and working with the people on return to flight,” noted David Dowles, the director of Space Operations Technology for NASA Langley.