Deteriorating and unstable weather conditions in eastern Florida have led space shuttle mission managers to call off Thursday evening's scheduled landing of Space Shuttle Discovery at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As a result, the likelihood of Discovery ending its mission at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California this weekend has increased.
Shuttle mission managers have the option of having Discovery return to Earth either Friday or Saturday, Sept. 11-12, at either Kennedy in Florida or at Edwards. Both Kennedy and Edwards will be called up for shuttle landing support Friday, and will also be called up Saturday if necessary.
Should mission managers decide to have Discovery land at Edwards, a strong sonic boom could be generated along the shuttle's route of descent along the Southern California coastline about five to 10 minutes before landing. The area that might be affected by a sonic boom could extend over a wide area from south of Los Angeles to south of San Luis Obispo, and then inland over portions of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and Kern Counties until the shuttle decelerates to subsonic speed over Edwards.
Potential landing times Friday at Edwards are about 5:53 p.m. and 7:28 p.m. PDT. Two possible opportunities Saturday at Edwards would have Discovery touch down at about 6:17 p.m. or 7:52 p.m. PDT. A final decision on whether to have the shuttle land at Kennedy, Edwards or White Sands could come as late as 90 minutes before actual landing at any of the sites.
Officials at Edwards Air Force Base have advised that the public viewing site on the east shoreline of Rogers Dry Lake will NOT be open this weekend for viewing of a possible space shuttle landing.
For further information, contact the NASA Dryden public affairs office at 661-276-3449, or visit www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden.
For the latest update on shuttle mission STS-128 on the Web, visit www.nasa.gov/shuttle
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