September 2009
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STS-128: Touchdown!

Discovery has come in for a smooth California landing  on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base after a 2-week resupply mission to the International Space Station.

STS-128 Discovery contrails"Congratulations on an extremely sucessful mission, stepping up science to a new level on the International Space Station!"

Returning from the ISS is Tim Kopra, who was replaced on the station by Nicole Stott. She arrived at the ISS as part of Discovery's crew, and she will return home later this year on STS-129.

Unofficial Numbers:

Wheel Stop: 8:54:35PM EDT
Main Gear Touchdown: MET 13d 20h 53m 45s
Nose Gear Touchdown: MET 13d 20h 53m 54s
Wheel Stop: MET 13d 20h 54m 55s

STS-128: Deorbit Burn

Discovery has successfully fired its maneuvering engines, allowing the spacecraft to fall out of orbit for the trip to Edwards Air Force Base. Discovery and the STS-128 crew will be traveling at Mach 25 through the Earth's atmosphere before slowing down to about 220MPH for touchdown at 8:53PM EDT.

STS-128: Landing At Edwards

Bad weather at Kennedy Space Center prompted mission managers to opt for the West Coast landing site at Edwards AFB. The deorbit burn is scheduled for 7:47PM EDT, which should bring Discovery in for touchdown at 8:53PM after 219 orbits. NASA reports:

Second Opportunity Waved Off; Edwards Targeted

NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center
Image above: NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center is adjacent to Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert. Discovery is slated to touch down on the Edwards runway this evening. After that, the shuttle will be moved to the Mate/De-Mate Device at Dryden, which is in the lower portion of this aerial photograph. Also note the huge compass rose, which is painted on the desert floor for the benefit of the test pilots who fly at the base. Photo credit: NASA
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Weather conditions forced flight controllers to pass on both landing opportunities at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Mission Control has decided to target Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for today's landing since the weather at Kennedy is unstable.

The first landing opportunity in California has a deorbit burn time of 7:47 p.m. EDT with landing at 8:53 p.m. The second opportunity would start with a deorbit burn at 9:23 p.m. and end with a landing at 10:28 p.m.

A landing today will complete a two-week flight for Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Kevin Ford, and mission specialists Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas and Christer Fuglesang. Today is the 58th day in space for their crewmate Tim Kopra, who launched on shuttle mission STS-127 in July and spent two months on the International Space Station as an Expedition 20 crew member.

+ View landing ground tracks

Landing blog at NASA. Live video with chat at SpaceVidCast. More clips at Space Multimedia. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.