Friday, March 27, 2009

Last Full Day on Orbit; Discovery Landing Info

Discovery and her crew of seven will spend their last full day in space today packing and stowing equipment, talking with students in Hawaii, and testing the shuttle's wing flaps in preparation for the orbiter's glide home to America's Spaceport - the Kennedy Space Center - tomorrow.

Discovery will fire her twin orbital maneuvering system jets at 12:33 pm EDT on Saturday to begin her decent and take her out of orbit. At about 1:10 pm, as the orbiter begins it's 201st orbit of the mission, Discovery will reenter the earth's atmosphere in a 2500 degree Fahrenheit fireball with her nose pitched up 39 degrees.

The NASA groundtracks can best show you where Discovery will be crossing on her glide in on Saturday. Click on the images for a larger view.

Touchdown here at Kennedy's Runway 15 will see main gear touchdown at 1:39 pm EDT.

However on tap for today, mission commander Lee Archambault and pilot Tony Antonelli will test the orbiters aerosurfaces and jet thrusters beginning about 9:45 am EDT. They will power up one of Discovery's power units so that they can put the orbiter's rudder and flaps through a series of tests to ensure they will work during landing.

Later today, the astronauts will talk with students in Honolulu, Hawaii at 1:03 pm EDT.

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