Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The space shuttle Discovery could depart it's California landing site on Friday after being mated a top a 747 jet for its return to her home at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Discovery, which landed at Edwards, AFB in the south California desert on Friday evening, is being prepared for lifting and her mount a top a modified Boeing 747 jet later this week. Currently, officials at the Dryden Flight Research Center near Edwards state that the duel crafts could depart as early as this Friday morning for the two day trip back to Cape Canaveral.
Several turnaround technicians from Kennedy flew out to Dryden on Saturday and began work to safe and drain toxic fluids from the orbiter. They will begin lifting the 25-year-old space shuttle and begin stowing her landing gear.
Weather could force a one day delay in Discovery's departure and several at Dryden think that a Saturday morning departure is most likely to happen. They feel it will give the turnaround team more time to secure and bolt the orbiter down on the jumbo jet.
Discovery concluded a nearly 14 days space station resupply flight with a landing her due to bad weather along America's Space Coast. Friday's landing was only the third forced Edwards landing in the last ten months due to bad weather in Florida.