The Space Shuttle Discovery carries seven astronauts including a Japanese astronaut (Koichi Wakata) who will be part of the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) until May, 2009. The mission (STS-119) is to deploy the last two solar arrays (115 feet (35-meters) long each) of the International Space Station (ISS). STS-119 is scheduled to return on March 28, 2009 at 01:43 PM EDT.
I was very lucky to see this wonderful view of the pace Shuttle Discovery being launched. I hope that others in the region got to view the event as well.