NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery Scheduled to Land Aug. 8
Jessica Rye/Bruce Buckingham|
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Commander Eileen Collins and her six-member crew on board the Space Shuttle Discovery will mark the completion of their Return to Flight mission with a scheduled landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Monday, Aug. 8, at about 4:46 a.m. EDT. Discovery began its 13-day mission, known as STS-114, on July 26, at 10:39 a.m. EDT.
Landing at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) is slated to occur on orbit 201 at mission elapsed time 12 days, 18 hours, 07 minutes. The deorbit burn will occur at about 3:43 a.m. EDT. A second KSC landing opportunity is also available on Aug. 8 at 6:21 a.m. EDT with a deorbit burn coming at 5:19 a.m. EDT. Two landing opportunities are planned for the back-up landing location at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), Calif., on Monday. The first opportunity at EAFB is 7:52 a.m. EDT and the second is 9:27 a.m. EDT.
If managers must keep Discovery in orbit beyond Monday, two landing opportunities are available at KSC on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 5:09 a.m. EDT and at 6:45 a.m. EDT. Two additional times are also available at EAFB on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
If landing occurs as scheduled, it will be the 62nd landing at KSC and the 15th night landing at KSC in the history of the Shuttle program. Following landing, Discovery will be serviced and prepared for its next mission, STS-115.
About an hour after touchdown, the STS-114 crew will be taken to their KSC quarters to meet with their families and undergo initial physical examinations. A post-mission press conference with select members of the STS-114 crew is scheduled to occur at the KSC News Center no earlier than six hours after touchdown. Media should check with the KSC Press Site for details.
If Discovery lands at Edwards, an augmented KSC convoy team will be on-site to safe the vehicle, disembark the crew and move the orbiter to the Mate/Demate Device. The turnaround team will be deployed to Edwards by charter aircraft on landing day.
MEDIA ADVISORY: The KSC press site will open for landing activities at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7. Accredited news media on the approved list to view Discovery's landing from the SLF should be at the KSC News Center beginning at 2 a.m. Monday for transport to the SLF. The last bus leaves the Press Site at 3 a.m. Media must sign up for the SLF prior to bus departure. Launch/mission badging requirements and security restrictions for the media remain in effect. Mission STS-114 accredited U.S. media may drive directly to the KSC News Center. Foreign media must ride a bus to the Press Site from the Pass and Identification Building on S.R. 3. Buses begin running at midnight.
For the latest information on NASA's Return to Flight efforts, visit:
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SLF and KSC Ground Operations
KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility was built in 1975. It is 300 feet wide and 15,000 feet long with 1,000-foot overruns at each end. The strip runs northwest to southeast and is located about three miles northwest of the 525-foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building.
Once the orbiter is on the ground, safing operations will commence and the flight crew will prepare the vehicle for post-landing operations. The Crew Transport Vehicle (CTV) will be used to assist the crew, allowing them to leave the vehicle and remove their launch and re-entry suits easier and quicker.
The CTV and other KSC landing convoy operations have been "on-call" since the launch of Discovery. The primary functions of the Space Shuttle recovery convoy are to provide immediate service to the orbiter after landing, assist crew egress, and prepare the orbiter for towing to the processing facility a few hours following touchdown.
Convoy vehicles are stationed at the SLF's mid-point. About two hours prior to landing, convoy personnel don SCAPE suits, or Self-Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble, and communications checks are made. A warming-up of coolant and purge equipment is conducted and nearly two-dozen convoy vehicles are positioned to move onto the runway as quickly and as safely as possible once the orbiter coasts to a stop. When the vehicle is deemed safe of all potential explosive hazards and toxic gases, the purge and coolant umbilical access vehicles move into position at the rear of the orbiter.
Following purge and coolant operations, flight crew egress preparations will begin and the CTV will be moved into position at the crew access hatch located on the orbiter's port side. A physician will board the Shuttle and conduct a brief preliminary examination of the astronauts. The crew will then make preparations to leave the vehicle.
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