Launch and Landing

    Mission: STS-119
    Orbiter: Discovery
    Primary Payload: S6 Truss Segment and U.S. Solar Arrays
    Launched: March 15
    Launch Time: 7:43 p.m. EDT
    Launch Pad: 39A
    Mission Duration: 13 days
    Landing Date: March 28, 2009
    Landing Time: 3:14 p.m. EDT
    Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
    Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

    STS-119: Powering Up the International Space Station
    In a blaze of clouds and smoke, space shuttle Discovery lifted off into a dusky night sky from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:43 p.m. EDT March 15. Attaining orbit within minutes, the STS-119 mission to bring full power to the International Space Station was well under way.

    Discovery lifts off on mission STS-119

    Image: Discovery roars toward space as it lifts off Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Photo credit: NASA/Chris Lynch
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    Commander Lee Archambault led the crew of seven, which included Pilot Tony Antonelli, Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, John Phillips and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

    A few earlier launch delays didn't dampen the astronauts' spirits, as they quickly went to work taking precautionary images of the shuttle's thermal protective tiles and preparing to dock with the space station two days later.

    The 13-day mission included three spacewalks to install the S6 truss and starboard-side U.S. solar arrays. The shuttle crew also delivered and helped install a replacement distillation assembly centrifuge to the station’s water recycling system. With both the solar arrays and the recycling system up and running, enables the orbiting laboratory to double its crew size to six.

    A highlight to the mission was a call from U.S. President Barack Obama to the shuttle and station crew members gathered in the Harmony module. The president, members of Congress and students asked questions about the mission and what life is like aboard the station.

    Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center concluding the STS-119 mission

    Image: Space shuttle Discovery nears touchdown on Runway 15 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to complete the 13-day, 5.3-million mile journey. Photo credit: NASA/Kenny Allen
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    With the complex mission behind them, it was time to say farewell to the Expedition 18-19 crew members. After undocking, the astronauts performed one last inspection of Discovery's thermal protection system and began their journey home to Earth.

    Wakata remained aboard the station, replacing Flight Engineer Sandra Magnus. Magnus returned to Earth with the STS-119 crew after more than four months of living and working in space.

    Although the first landing opportunity at Kennedy was waved off because of high winds, Discovery glided to a perfect touchdown at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility at 3:14 p.m. EDT March 28, successfully completing NASA's STS-119 mission.

Shuttle Features

NASA's STS-119 Mission: Boosting the Station Power

International Space Station

The International Space Station is beautifully balanced and "powered-up."

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Bat Hung on to Shuttle During Liftoff

A bat on the external tnak

Analysis shows a bat clinging to Discovery's external tank held on even after launch.

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Astronaut Shines as JAXA’s First to Live in Space

Astronaut Koichi Wakata

Koichi Wakata will become the first Japanese to live on the International Space Station.

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Acaba Has Close Ties to Space Coast

Astronaut Joseph Acaba

Local Teachers Cheer an Astronaut of Their Own

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Orbital Souvenirs Reflect Diversity

The STS-119 crew patch

The astronauts are carrying mementoes to space that reflect their unique backgrounds.

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More Power to Them

S6 solar array mast canister.

The final truss segment and solar arrays soon head for the International Space Station.

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STS-119 Mission Stats

    Sat., March 28, 2009, 3:14 p.m. EDT
     Landing Site:
    Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

     Mission Elapsed Time:
     12 days, 19 hours, 29 minutes, 33 secs

     Official Landing Times
     Main gear touchdown:
    3:13:17 p.m. EDT
     Nose gear touchdown:
    3:13:40 p.m. EDT
     Wheels stop:
    3:13:45 p.m. EDT
     Total miles:
    5.3 million

Launch and Landing Coverage

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