After months of technical delays the space shuttle Discovery lanuched from the Kennedy Space Center at a little before 10pm UK time last night. Discovery is regarded as the fleet leader, having flown in space more times than any other space craft, covering some 143 million miles by the time it completes this mission.
Aboard STS-133 is Mission Specialist Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr on his second trip into space. I met Al in Houston in October 2010, shortly after his first flight, and he was kind enough to sit for my project on astronauts, so this seems a suitable reason to post his portrait here.
For anyone that’s interested in watching a piece of history, here is the video of the launch: