Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Discovery Prepares for Thursday Evening Landing

The seven member crew of the space shuttle Discovery spent Wednesday preparing their ship for a Thursday evening landing here at the Kennedy Space Center following nearly 13 days in space.

The weather along the Space Coast is the only concern prior to the orbiters return from space. Prior to 5:50 pm EDT, the crew will receive a Go/No go call from mission control whether to proceed with landing.

There is a chance of isolated thunderstorms and a temperature of 81 degrees as the landing time approaches tomorrow.

Discovery's commander Rick Sturckow and pilot Kevin Ford will fire the orbiter's twin breaking jets to slow it down to drop out of orbit. The deorbit burn is scheduled for 5:59 pm, as Discovery circles the globe for the 202nd time since midnight on August 29th.

Mission specialists Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas, Christer Fuglesang and Tim Kopra round out the 128th space shuttle flight's crew. Below, is the ground track Discovery will take as she approaches Florida.

Landing by Discovery is planned for 7:05:20 pm on runway 15 at KSC's shuttle landing facility.

There is a second landing opportunity for Kennedy Space Center which would see a main gear touchdown one orbit later at 8:42 pm.

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