Discovery's Ferry Flight Team Targets an Early Afternoon Return to Kennedy Space Center

The ferry flight team plans to meet at 8 a.m. EDT Monday to evaluate the latest weather conditions and set a take off time for the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with shuttle Discovery on top and NASA's C-9 "pathfinder" support aircraft.

Weather permitting, the team is targeting a possible 10 a.m. EDT departure from Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana. Depending on real time weather and air traffic conditions, that could have Discovery back at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida by early Monday afternoon.

Discovery arrived at Barksdale at 6:39 p.m. EDT.

Barksdale was today's third stop for Discovery. The cross-country ferry flight to Kennedy began this morning with a 9:20 a.m., departure from Edwards Air Force Base in California. That was followed by refueling stops at Rick Husband International Airport in Amarillo, Texas and Ft. Worth Naval Air Station, Texas.

If the weather cooperates, the ferry flight team members plan to finish their 2,500 mile trip by returning to Kennedy tomorrow with no additional stops.

Space Shuttle Mission: STS-128

Space shuttle Discovery and its modified 747 carrier aircraft lift off from Edwards.

Image above: Space shuttle Discovery and its modified 747 carrier aircraft lift off from Edwards Air Force Base early in the morning on Sept. 20, 2009 on the first leg of its ferry flight back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
› High-Res

Discovery Lands in California
Space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew landed at 8:53 p.m. EDT Sept. 11 at Edwards Air Force Base in California, capping off a 14-day mission to deliver supplies and research facilities to the International Space Station and its six-person crew.

Mission managers called off both landing opportunities at Kennedy Space Center in Florida because of thunderstorms and unstable weather conditions.

Discovery's arrival completes a two-week flight for Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Kevin Ford, and Mission Specialists Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas and Christer Fuglesang. Friday was the 58th day in space for their crewmate Tim Kopra, who launched on shuttle mission STS-127 in July and spent two months on the International Space Station as an Expedition 20 crew member.

Also returning aboard space shuttle Discovery was Disney's space ranger Buzz Lightyear, after spending 15 months aboard the International Space Station. His time on the orbiting laboratory will celebrated in a ticker-tape parade together with his space station crew mates and former Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin on Oct. 2 at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Buzz Lightyear and space shuttle Discovery

Image above: Disney's Buzz Lightyear stands on the tarmac in front of space shuttle Discovery.
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While on the space station, Buzz supported NASA's education outreach program -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, by creating a series of fun educational online outreach programs. Following his return, Disney is partnering with NASA to create a new online educational game and an online mission patch competition for school kids across America.

NASA will fly the winning patch in space. In addition, NASA plans to announce on Oct. 2 the details of a new exciting educational competition that will give students the opportunity to design an experiment for the astronauts on the space station.

STS-128 Additional Resources
› Mission Summary (593 Kb PDF)
› Press Kit (3.7 Mb PDF)
› More about STS-128 Crew
› STS-128 Landing Photos

Orbiter Status
› About the Orbiters

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