Astronauts set to launch into space early next month are focused on their mission, NASA officials said Thursday, blocking out "distractions" over layoffs and changes at the space agency and sentimentality as the shuttle program nears its end.
The space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to take off November 1, returning to Earth the morning of November 12 after what NASA flight director Bryan Lunney described as a "very busy mission."
"After we fly around the Earth about 170 times, Discovery will come home for its last flight," Lunney said Thursday during a press conference in Houston detailing the mission. "The crew is ready to go."
The six-member crew, led by Commander Steven Lindsey, will install a new "permanent multipurpose module" called Leonardo on the international space station.