Practice Makes Perfect
Space shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 mission Commander George Zamka and Pilot Terry Virts practiced shuttle landings in a Shuttle Training Aircraft, or STA, during training related to a full launch dress rehearsal known as the terminal countdown demonstration test at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The STA is a Grumman American Aviation-built Gulfstream II jet that is modified to simulate a shuttle's cockpit, motion and handling qualities. The test provides astronauts and ground crews with an opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency training. During its 13-day mission, the shuttles six astronauts will deliver a third connecting module, the Tranquility node, to the International Space Station. Endeavour is targeted to launch Feb. 7.