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August 29, 2009

STS-128 Mission Summary

Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off just before midnight (EDT) Friday, August 28, 2009 after two launch scrubs—one for weather and one for mechanical issues. Unlike the airlines, NASA has to pay for flight delays regardless of the cause. Just staffing mission control in Houston for launch costs several million dollars a day. But everyone agrees that these costs are significantly less than the cost of an accident caused by bad weather or equipment failures.

Still, no one likes delays, and the KSC team should be commended for their quick work in addressing the problem and getting Discovery into space safely.

The STS-128 crew includes Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Kevin Ford and Mission Specialists Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas, Nicole Stott, and European Astronaut, Christer Fuglesang. Stott will replace Timothy Kopra on the station.

The crew days are shifted so they go to bed around 4 AM and get up around noon, CDT. This means all the spacewalks start in late afternoon and run during American evening hours. As always, NASA will cover the mission live online (see so the best times to watch are during and after dinner. Highlights from the previous day will be shown on the hour during crew sleep, in other words, watch those when you’re eating breakfast.

Here is a summary of the flight:

Saturday, Aug 29, tile inspection

Sunday, Aug 30, rendezvous. Docking with the station at 8:03 PM CDT, welcome 9:59 PM. Nicole Stott joins the Expedition crew, and Kopra moves to the shuttle.

Monday, Aug 31, Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) is transferred from the shuttle to the station arm and then installed on Harmony’s nadir (Earth-facing) port.

Tuesday, Sept 1, COLBERT tread mill is transferred to the station. Extravehicular activity (EVA) #1 with Olivas and Stott from 4:49 to 11:19 CDT.

Wednesday, Sept 2, Racks installed in Destiny. Tile inspection if needed.

Thursday, Sept 3, EVA #2 with Olivas and Fuglesang from 4:19 PM to 10:49 PM CDT.

Friday, Sept 4, station crew off duty. Shuttle crew does equipment transfers.

Saturday, Sept 5, EVA #3, Olivas and Fuglesang from 3:49 to 10:19 PM.

Sunday, Sept 6, Equipment transfers.

Monday, Sept 7, MPLM (now emptied), moved from Harmony back to shuttle bay between 5:14 PM and 7:59 PM. Farewell and station/shuttle hatch closing at 9:29 PM.

Tuesday, Sept 8, Undocking at 2:27 PM with flyaround (lots of cool images) between 2:52 and 4:10 PM.

Wednesday, Sept 9, Shuttle checkout.

Thursday, Sept 10, Deorbit burn at 5:05 PM (if waveoff, would be decided before this). Landing at KSC at 6:08 CDT (7:08 EDT).

To the stars,

Marianne Dyson
NSS Advisor

Posted by m_dyson at August 29, 2009 02:30 AM



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