Monday, August 22, 2005
The Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery arrived back at the Kennedy Space Center Sunday morning after a three-day cross-country ferry flight from Edwards Air Force Base.
NASA's modified Boeing 747 Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft #905 that carried Discovery atop its fuselage touched down at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility runway shortly before 10 a.m. Eastern time, 7 a.m. Pacific time Sunday after a two-hour flight from Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana. The flight was the third and final leg for the ferry flight that had begun Friday morning at Edwards.
The piggyback pair had flown from Edwards to Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma for refueling and then on to Barksdale for an overnight stop on Friday. However, unacceptable weather conditions in central Florida led mission managers to postpone the final segment of the flight to Kennedy from Saturday until Sunday.
Discovery had landed at Edwards on August 9th after completing the two-week Return-to-Flight mission STS-114. Deservicing and ferry flight preparations at NASA Dryden were also slowed a couple of days due to thunderstorms over the desert early last week.
After demating from the SCA late Sunday, Discovery was towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility today for removal of the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module containing no longer needed equipment and trash from the International Space Station and other payloads. After that is completed, Discovery will then be prepared for the second Return-to-Flight test mission, STS-121, which is now scheduled to occur no earlier than March 2006.
Dryden employees seeking additional information about the current status of the Shuttle program and specifically the Return to Flight missions 114 and 121 may log on to www.nasa.gov/returntoflight on the Internet. For more photos on the Space Shuttle's landing and processing, visit: www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/STS-114/index.html.
Image Above: Technicians attach the tail cone to the Space Shuttle Discovery in preparation for its return to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA photo by Carla Thomas)
Image Above: Technicians inspect external tank attachment fittings on the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of it's post-flight processing. (NASA photo by Tony Landis) ->