September 2009
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STS-128: Landing Pushed To Friday

Both of Discovery's landing oportunities were waved off today, due to storms in the KSC area. The weather does not look any better at KSC for tomorrow, so we are betting on a West Coast landing. NASA reports:

Friday Landing Opportunities in Florida and California

The Shuttle Landing Facility
Image above: The Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is the focus of attention as the STS-128 mission nears its end. The 3-mile-long runway was built specifically for the shuttle and it is one of the largest concrete runways in the world. Photo credit: NASA
› View High-Res

Mission Control has called off Thursday's final space shuttle landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center due to unstable weather conditions.

Two more Discovery landing opportunities are available Friday at Kennedy Space Center. The first begins with a de-orbit burn at 4:41 p.m. EDT and ends with landing at 5:48 p.m. The second opportunity begins with a de-orbit burn at 6:17 p.m. with a landing at 7:23 p.m.

+ View landing ground tracks

However, the Florida weather forecast is not any better than Thursday's. For that reason, Entry Flight Director Richard Jones has decided to call up Edwards Air Force Base in California as an alternate landing site for Friday.

The first landing opportunity in California begins with a de-orbit burn at 7:47 p.m. with a landing at 8:53 p.m. The final landing opportunity of the day would start with a de-orbit burn at 9:23 p.m. ending with a landing at 10:28 p.m

Live video at SFN and SpaceVidCast. Landing Blog at NASA. Flight Day 13 pics and video are up at the JSC Gallery. More clips at Space Multimedia. Discussion here. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

Spectacular New Images From the Hubble Telescope: Celestial Butterfly

Celestial Butterfly
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is back in action following a much-needed upgrade after astronauts repaired its intricate machinery from space in a daring mission in May. NASA has provided an array of marvelous images showing off the telescope's new capabilities.

STS-128: Flight Day 14

The Shuttle crew will be waking up later this morning to begin what should be Landing Day. Discovery is scheduled to touch down at KSC this evening - but Florida's summer storms may keep the astronauts in orbit for another dayNASA reports:

Discovery Ready for Landing

The STS-128 crew
Image above: The STS-128 crew answers questions during an interview while aboard space shuttle Discovery. Credit: NASA TV

Discovery’s heat shield was cleared for landing Wednesday, and the crew checked out the systems that will be used to control the space shuttle’s return to Earth.

The first landing opportunity is planned for 7:05 p.m. EDT Thursday, but Mission Control is keeping a close watch on weather conditions at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A second opportunity is available on the following orbit at 8:42 p.m.

Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Kevin Ford spent Wednesday preparing the shuttle for re-entry, completing a checkout of the flight control systems and test-firing the shuttle’s reaction control system thrusters.

STS-128 Additional Resources
› Mission Summary (593 Kb PDF)
› Press Kit (3.7 Mb PDF)
› More about STS-128 Crew

Live HD webcast at SpaceVidCast. Flight Day 12 pics and video are up at the JSC Gallery. More clips at Space Multimedia. Live video at SFN. Discussion here. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.