STS-128 Crew Prepares for Landing
The astronauts on space shuttle Discovery are ready to wrap up a nearly 13-day flight with a landing this evening at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The first task for Pilot Kevin Ford and Commander Rick Sturckow was to make ready for an orbital adjustment engine firing to move Discovery out of the path of a piece of orbital debris. That burn of Discovery’s orbital maneuvering system engines was performed at 12:02 p.m. EDT. The maneuver will not alter the scheduled landing opportunities today.
Mission specialists Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas, Christer Fuglesang and Tim Kopra join Sturckow and Ford to begin deorbit preparations about 1 p.m. as they get themselves and their ship ready for the ride home.
The deorbit burn for today’s first landing opportunity today, on orbit 202, is at 5:59 p.m. Discovery would cross above southern Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico, skirt west of Cuba and cross the Florida coast above Sarasota, landing at Kennedy Space Center on runway 15 at 7:05 p.m. A second landing opportunity at Kennedy today would put the shuttle and crew on the ground at 8:42 p.m. The weather forecast for both opportunities today calls for a chance of thunderstorms within 30 nautical miles of the Shuttle Landing Facility.
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