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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-128: LIFTOFF!

"...and LIFTOFF of Discovery, celebrating its 25th birthday by racking up science and supplies to the Space Station!" 

"...Discovery speeding straight as an arrow on its night flight toward a date with the International Space Station Sunday night."

NASA reports:

Discovery Lifts Off!

Space shuttle Discovery lifts off.
Image above: Space shuttle Discovery lifts off into the night sky on a mission to the International Space Station. Launch was on-time at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA TV

STS-128: GO for Launch!

The polls are complete, there are no constraints to launchNASA reports:

Launch Teams "Go" for Liftoff

Space shuttle Discovery
Image above: The crew of space shuttle Discovery has climbed inside the spacecraft and the countdown is moving ahead toward launch at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA TV

Live HD webcast at SpaceVidCast. Preflight pics are up at 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-128: Launch Attempt 3 SCRUBBED

NASA needs more time to review yesterday's fill-and-drain test for Discovery's "stuck fuel valve" problem, prompting mission managers to cancel tonight's (early Friday morning) attempt and go for the Friday night option. NASA reports:

Discovery's Next Launch Attempt Late Friday

Closeup of STS-128 patch. NASA image.The launch team is targeting Friday night for the next launch attempt of space shuttle Discovery on the STS-128 mission. Launch time for is 11:59[PM] EDT.

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

STS-128: Two Launch Opportunities Friday

NASA has tested and cleared the fuel valve which caused Wednesday morning's scrub.

There are four more launch opportunities to get Discovery off the ground before the Shuttle program has to step aside to allow the Air Force to use the range for a military launch. Two of NASA's opportunities actually occur within the same 24-hour period this Friday - one at 12:22AM EDT and the next at the other end of the day, just seconds before midnight.

Discovery's last chance to launch this summer is August 30, due to conflicts with Japanese and Russian cargo missions to the Space Station. If they miss that window, the Shuttle would be grounded until mid-October. NASA reports:

Discovery Launch Targeted for Aug. 28

Space shuttle Discovery at Launch Pad 39A
Image above: Operational cameras show the Xenon lights illuminate Discovery's external tank at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A. Photo credit: NASA TV

The launch team is targeting Friday morning for the next launch attempt of space shuttle Discovery on the STS-128 mission. Launch time for Friday is at 12:22 a.m. EDT.

Commander Rick Sturckow will lead the Discovery crew with Kevin Ford serving as pilot. Also serving aboard space shuttle Discovery are Mission Specialists Patrick Forrester, José Hernández, John "Danny" Olivas, Nicole Stott and the European Space Agency's Christer Fuglesang.

The seven astronauts will fly Discovery to the International Space Station and deliver Leonardo, a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, and a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Experiment Support Structure Carrier in addition to science and storage racks.

Stott is scheduled to join Expedition 20 as flight engineer and Tim Kopra will return to Earth with the Discovery crew.

Additional Resources
› Orbiter Status Updates

Put a pot of coffee on and stay up late! Live HD coverage at SpaceVidCast. Preflight pics are up at JSC and Sentinel. Launch blog at NASA. Pics and video at KSC. More clips at Space Multimedia. Live video at SFN and ESA. Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

STS-128: Launch Attempt 2

The Florida weather seemed like it was starting to clear last night, but not in time to meet flight criteria. Let's see if nature cooperates tonight. The Shuttle's launch window runs from 1:05AM EDT to 1:15, with optimal liftoff time at 1:10 tonight (early Wednesday morning). NASA reports:

Discovery Gets the "Go" for Tanking

Discovery waits at Pad 39A during the first STS-128 launch attempt. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-2009-4839

STS-128 Launch Timeline


6:30 am Ascent switch list verification
6:30 am Crew sleep
8:45 am Countdown resumes at the T-11 hour mark
10:45 am Clear Launch Pad
11:35 pm Fuel cell activation
1:00 pm Clear “Launch Danger Area”
1:45 pm Countdown enters 2-hr hold at the T-6 hour mark
2:30 pm Crew wake up
3:00 pm Mission Management Team meets to give go for tanking
3:00 pm Crew breakfast
3:30 pm Crew final medical checks
3:30 pm NASA TV: External Tank fueling coverage
3:45 pm Countdown resumes at T-6 hr mark w/External Tank loading
4:29 pm Liquid Hydrogen Low Level Cutoff (LLCO) sensors go “wet”
4:44 pm Liquid Hydrogen “fast fill” begins
5:59 pm LH2 “topping” begins (gaseous Hydrogen vent valve cycling)
6:45 pm Countdown enters 2½-hr hold (T-3 hr mark)
• ET in stable replenish
• Closeout Crew to White Room
• Final Inspection Team (FIT) “walkdown”
7:00 pm Ascent Team on console in Mission Control

8:00 pm LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS on NASA TV
8:40 pm Crew receives weather brief from Ascent Team
8:50 pm Crew suits up for launch
9:15 pm Countdown resumes at the T-3 hour mark
9:30 pm Mission Management Team on console
9:20 pm Crew departs Ops & Checkout Building for launch pad 39A
9:50 pm Crew begins to board Discovery
10:15 pm T-38 weather reconnaissance (FCOD Dir. Brent Jett)
10:45 pm Crew communications checks
11:10 pm Discovery’s hatch is closed and latched for launch
11:30 pm Shuttle Training Aircraft weather recon (Jett)
11:35 pm White Room Closeout
11:55 pm Countdown enters a 10-min hold at the T-20 min mark
• Firing Room computer programs verified
• Landing convoy status check
• Abort landing sites checked
• Inertial Measurement Unit preflight alignment verified
• Preps for computer s/w transition to terminal count
12:05 am Countdown resumes at the T-20 minute mark
12:16 am Countdown enters ~45-min. hold at the T-9 min mark
MMT conducts final “Go-No Go” poll for launch
1:01:22 am Countdown resumes at the T-9 minute mark
1:02:52 pm Orbiter Access Arm (OAA) retract
1:04:22 pm Verify Auxiliary Power Units (APU) ready to start
1:04:22 pm Launch window opens
1:05:22 am Auxiliary Power Unit start
1:05:27 am Liquid Oxygen replenish terminate
1:06:22 am Purge Sequence 4 hydraulic test
1:06:22 am Inertial Measurement Units to inertial
1:06:27 am Flight Control Surface profile test
1:06:52 am Main Engine profile test
1:07:27 am LO2 tank pressurization
1:07:32 am Gaseous Oxygen Vent Hood retraction
1:07:47 am Fuel Cells to internal reactants
1:07:52 am Clear caution and warning memory
1:08:22 am Crew closes visors & initiates O2 flow
1:08:25 am Liquid Hydrogen tank pressurization
1:08:42 am Solid Rocket Booster joint heater deactivation
1:09:32 am Discovery to internal power
1:09:51 am Onboard computers take control of countdown (T-31 sec)
1:10:01 am Solid Rocket Booster steering test
1:10:15 am Main Engine start (T-6.6 seconds)
1:10:22 am LAUNCH (ISS 225 miles up, East of Newfoundland)
1:15:22 am Launch window closes
1:18:46 am Main Engine Cutoff (MECO)

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