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STS-128: Undocking Tuesday Afternoon

Flight Day 12 will see Discovery undock from the ISS and begin its journey home. Coming along for the ride will be Buzz Lightyear. The action figure arrived at the Station last year, and will return to Earth for "several debriefing sessions," and a parade with the real BuzzNASA reports:

Shuttle, Station to Undock Today

S128-E-007429: Soyuz and Discovery docked to International Space Station
Image above: This scene, photographed from the International Space Station while docked with space shuttle Discovery, shows the orbiter, the shuttle's robotic arm and a Soyuz vehicle docked with the orbital outpost. Credit: NASA

After closing the hatches between the two spacecraft last night, the two crews aboard space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station prepare to undock today.

Shuttle commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Kevin Ford and mission specialists Tim Kopra, Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas, and Christer Fuglesang, will focus on preparations for the undocking from the station.

They are scheduled to undock from the station at 3:26 p.m. EDT. Once safely separated from the orbiting complex by about 450 feet, Ford will conduct a flyaround of the space station. The maneuver provides an opportunity to get video of the station that can be used to inspect for damage or general condition of the vehicle’s exterior. A final separation burn is expected at 5:09 p.m.

Later, the shuttle crew will again engage the shuttle robotic arm, its extension boom and cameras for a last look at the thermal protection system to check for any damage.

Discovery Set to Depart Station

The Expedition 20 and STS-128 crews say goodbye
Image above: The Expedition 20 and STS-128 crews say goodbye before closing the hatches between the International Space Station and space shuttle Discovery. Credit: NASA TV

With over a week of docked operations behind them, the astronauts and cosmonauts said their goodbyes and closed the hatches between the International Space Station and space shuttle Discovery at 11:41 p.m. EDT Monday.

The 13 crew members aboard space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station completed final transfer work between the two spacecraft and returned the high-tech moving van “Leonardo” back to the orbiter’s payload bay Monday.

Arriving aboard Discovery was the newest Expedition 20 crew member, Nicole Stott, who switched places with Mission Specialist Tim Kopra. Stott will handle flight engineer duties aboard the station until her return home aboard Atlantis following the STS-129 mission in November.

Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Pics and video at Space Multimedia. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

STS-128: Final EVA Tonight

The third and final spacewalk of Discovery's mission will take place Saturday evening, starting at 4:49PM EDT. On the agenda for astronauts Olivas and Fugelsang (per Wikipedia):

Prepare for the arrival of the Tranquility node by attaching cables between the starboard truss and the Unity node, the area where Tranquility will be installed. Tranquility is targeted to arrive to the station on STS-130 in February 2010. The spacewalkers also will replace a communications sensor device, install two new GPS antennas, and install a new circuit breaker.

STS-128: FD-5 Wrap-Up

Flight Day 5 began Tuesday shortly before 1PM EDT Tuesday. ISS and Shuttle crewmembers unloaded equipment from Discovery, including the COLBERT treadmill.

Danny Olivas and Nicole Stott (now a member of ISS Expedition 20) spent 6 hours and 35 minutes outside the Station on the first EVA of the mission. The astronauts removed a 1300-lb (589 kgammonia coolant tank from the Station, and retrieved science experiments which were mounted outside the Columbus lab.

The crews went to sleep around 3:30AM EDT Wednesday morning. NASA reports:

First Spacewalk of STS-128 Mission Complete

Astronaut Nicole Stott
Image above: Spacewalker Nicole Stott works outside the International Space Station during the first spacewalk of the STS-128 mission. Photo credit: NASA TV

Mission Specialist Danny Olivas and Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Nicole Stott completed the first spacewalk of the STS-128 mission at 12:24 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The astronauts began the spacewalk at 5:49 p.m. Tuesday.

During the spacewalk, shuttle Commander Rick Sturckow and Mission Specialist Pat Forrester guided the spacewalkers through the procedures. Pilot Kevin Ford and Flight Engineer Bob Thirsk operated the station’s robotic arm.

Crew members inside the International Space Station entered the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module and unloaded the air revitalization system, a new crew quarters compartment and the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT).

Flight Day 4 pics and video are up at the JSC Gallery. More clips at Space Multimedia and BBC. Live video at SFN. Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

STS-128: Flight Day 3

Flight Day 3 started at 1:29PM EDT today. Sunday evening will see Discovery dock with the ISS. NASA reports:

Discovery on Track for Docking With Space Station

S128-E-006260: Astronauts Patrick Forrester and Nicole Stott
Image above: Astronauts Patrick Forrester and Nicole Stott, both STS-128 mission specialists, are pictured on the middeck of space shuttle Discovery. Photo credit: NASA

For the second time in history, thirteen people will be assembled on one spacecraft today to kick-off eight days of joint space operations. Space shuttle Discovery is on track for a docking with the International Space Station just after 9 p.m. EDT.

Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Kevin Ford will perform a few final corrective jet firings to refine the orbiter’s path to the station and poise them for a rendezvous pitch maneuver (RPM) under the station at 8 p.m. While Sturckow performs the “backflip” Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mike Barratt will take photos from the station. Their photos will be reviewed by experts on the ground for evidence of damage to the shuttle tiles.

Once the RPM is complete, Sturckow will fly Discovery ahead of the space station and slowly back it in to dock to the station. Mating is expected to occur at 9:04 p.m. After hatch opening and a routine safety briefing, the two crews will start their joint operations.

› Read more

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

Orbiter Status
› About the Orbiters

Flight Day 2 pics and video are up at the JSC Gallery. More pics and video at KSC, and clips at Space Multimedia. Live video at SFN. Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

STS-127: Landing Day

Flight Day 17 should be homecoming day for Endeavour's astronauts.  NASA reports:

Endeavour Crew Prepares for Landing

S127-E-011976 -- Astronaut Julie Payette
Image above: STS-127 Mission Specialist Julie Payette is pictured on the aft flight deck of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Endeavour. Photo credit: NASA

Space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to land at Florida's Kennedy Space Center today with a touchdown at 10:48 a.m. EDT. The shuttle would begin its descent from orbit with a deorbit engine firing at 9:42 a.m. Weather conditions at Kennedy are forecast to be favorable for landing, although a slight chance of rain is possible.

A second opportunity exists for a landing in Florida today, beginning with a deorbit engine firing at 11:16 a.m., leading to a 12:22 p.m. touchdown. No other shuttle landing sites are being considered for a landing today. If weather prevents a landing today, alternate landing sites would be called up for Saturday’s landing opportunities.

Thursday, Endeavour Commander Mark Polansky and Pilot Doug Hurley checked out the systems the shuttle will use as it returns home, finding everything in excellent shape. The crew also deployed two pairs of small satellites from canisters in the shuttle’s payload bay.

› Read more

STS-127 Additional Resources
› Mission Press Kit (6.9 Mb PDF)
› Mission Summary (429 Kb PDF)
› Meet the STS-127 Crew

Endeavour Set to Land
Friday's Landing Day Highlights (all times are listed in EDT)


5:53 a.m. Deorbit preparations begin
7:02 a.m. Payload bay door closing
7:15 a.m. Mission Control "go" for Ops 3 software transition
8:19 a.m. Endeavour astronauts suit up
8:42 a.m. Astronauts strap into their seats
8:58 a.m. Orbital Maneuvering System engine gimbal checks
9:09 a.m. Auxiliary power unit prestart
9:22 a.m. Mission Control "go/no-go" decision for the deorbit burn
9:27 a.m. Maneuver to the deorbit burn attitude
9:42 a.m. Deorbit burn
10:35 a.m. Merritt Island, Fla. tracking station acquires signal from Endeavour
10:48 a.m. Landing

Live HD webcast at SpaceVidCast. Landing blog at NASA. Flight Day 15 pics and video are up at the JSC Gallery. More pics and video at KSC. More clips at Space Multimedia. Live video at SFN. Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

STS-127: LIFTOFF!

...and LIFTOFF of Endeavour, completing Kibo and fulfilling Japan's hope for an out-of-this-world space laboratory!

Finally! On the sixth launch attempt, Florida's summer storms held off and allowed Endeavour to launch on a construction and crew-transfer mission to the International Space Station. NASA reports:

Endeavour And Crew Launch, Head For Station

Liftoff of space shuttle Endeavour
Image above: Liftoff of space shuttle Endeavour from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy SPace Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA TV

STS-127 Mission Overview
The 16-day mission will feature five spacewalks and complete construction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. Astronauts will attach a platform to the outside of the Japanese module that will allow experiments to be exposed to space.

The STS-127 crew members are Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Dave Wolf, Christopher Cassidy, Tom Marshburn, Tim Kopra and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette. Kopra will join the space station crew and replace Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will return to Earth on Endeavour to conclude a three-month stay at the station.

STS-127 Additional Resources
› Mission Press Kit (6.9 Mb PDF)
› Mission Summary (429 Kb PDF)
› Meet the STS-127 Crew

Live HD webcast at SpaceVidCast. Launch clip at YouTube and BBC. Preflight pics are up at CBC, JSC, and Sentinel. Launch blog at NASA. Pics and video at KSC. More clips at Space Multimedia. Live video at SFN. Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

STS-127: 48-Hour Turnaround

With Monday's launch scrubbed AGAIN due to weather, NASA has announced that the next attempt will be Wednesday at 6:03PM EDT.

STS-127: Scrubbed Again, Launch Monday

Did you ever feel like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the football away? Thunderstorms in the KSC area prompted mission managers to scrub Sunday evening's launch attempt, the fourth for STS127. Endeavour is now scheduled to lift off Monday evening, but weather is still a concern. If they scrub Monday, there will be one more launch opportunity Tuesday, and then Endeavour will be grounded until July 27. NASA reports:

Endeavour Launch Scrubbed; STS-127 to Launch Monday

Storm clouds roll in over the NASA Vehicle Assembly building.
Image above: Storm clouds roll in over the NASA Vehicle Assembly building and Launch Control Center moments after Space Shuttle Launch Director Pete Nickolenko called the launch a "No Go" due to weather conditions. Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls › View High-res

Endeavour's Next Launch Attempt: Monday, July 13

TV monitors in Firing Room Four of the Launch Control Center
Image above: TV monitors in Firing Room Four of the Launch Control Center show Launch Pad 39A with the space shuttle Endeavour and the inspection team at Kennedy Space Center. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
› View High-res

Officials at NASA's Kennedy Space Center scrubbed the planned launch of space shuttle Endeavour on July 12 at 7:13 p.m. EDT due to inclement weather in the area. The next launch attempt is Monday, July 13 at 6:51 p.m. EDT.

Monday's Launch Day Highlights (all times are listed in EDT)


8:45 a.m. Mission Management Team meets to give a “go” for the fueling of Endeavour
9:26 a.m. Countdown resumes at the T-6 hour mark with the fueling of Endeavour
12:26 p.m. Countdown enters a 2-hour, 30-minute built-in hold at the T-3 hour mark; fueling enters stable replenish
1:30 p.m. Launch coverage begins on NASA TV and Launch Blog
2:56 p.m. Countdown resumes at T-3 hours
3:01 p.m. Endeavour astronauts depart crew quarters for Launch Pad 39A
3:31 p.m. Astronauts arrive at the launch pad and begin to board Endeavour
4:46 p.m. Endeavour's hatch is closed and latched for launch
5:36 p.m. Countdown enters a 10-minute planned hold at the T-20 minute mark
5:46 p.m. Countdown resumes at the T-20 minute mark
5:57 p.m. Countdown enters a 45-minute planned hold at the T-9 minute mark, during which the Mission Management Team and Launch Control team will conduct polls to give a final "go" decision for launch
6:42 p.m. Countdown resumes at the T-9 minute mark
6:46 p.m. Auxiliary Power Units start at the T-5 minute mark
6:51 p.m. Endeavour launches on the STS-127 mission
6:59 p.m. Main Engine Cut Off (MECO)

Live HD webcast at SpaceVidCast. Preflight pics are up at CBC, JSC, and Sentinel. Launch blog at NASA. Pics and video at KSC. More clips at Space Multimedia. Live video at SFN. Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.