Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Busy Day in Space Flight Today

The crew of Expedition 19 aboard a Soyuz TMA-14 are closing in on the international space station this morning. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, American Michael Barratt and veteran space tourist Charles Simonyi have been in space for two days now and are scheduled to sock at 9:14 am EDT.

At 7:07am ET, the Russian Soyuz TMA-14 performed a burn at 404 Km from the station while the two were over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean.

Meanwhile, an arc of the earth away in earth orbit, the crew of orbiter Discovery awoke at 5:13 am EDT this morning to prepare for today's landing back here at the Kennedy Space Center following nearly 13 days in space - eight of which were docked to the international space station.

"I'm looking forward to being home and seeing everyone today... hopefully," stated former station Expedition 18 crew member Sandra Magnus who is coming home after 134 days in space.

Discovery's commander Lee Archambault, pilot Dominic Antonelli, and mission specialists Steven Swanson, John Phillips, Joseph Acaba, Richard Arnold and Magnus will begin donning their entry pressure suits at about 11:10 am and then begin to strap in for landing.

Discovery Milestones Today:

09:54 am - Payload Bay door closure begins
12:33 pm - DeOrbit Burn begins for three minutes
01:08 pm - Reentry by Discovery
01:39 pm - Main Gear Touchdown on KSC Runway 15

There is a second landing opportunity at 3:13 pm EDT, if Mission Control elects to hold off one orbit for any reason. A landing today is prime so that time critical experiments from t
he space station get to back to their destined labs for analysis. In addition, Sunday's weather at both KSC and Edwards, AFB in California is forecast No-Go due to winds and clouds.

This is cool: At this moment there are three manned space craft in space and 13 humans in space - living aboard and coming and going from the space station.

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