Launch and Landing

    Mission: STS-128
    Orbiter: Discovery
    Primary Payload: Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, science experiment racks, COLBERT treadmill
    Launch Date: Aug. 28
    Launch Time: 11:59 p.m. EDT
    Launch Pad: 39A
    Landing Date: Sept. 11
    Landing Time: 8:53 p.m. EDT
    Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
    Mission Duration: 14 days
    Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

    Discovery Meets Success at Space Station

    Space shuttle Discovery launches on STS-128.

    Image above: Space shuttle Discovery began its trek to the International Space Station just before midnight, affording a brilliant nighttime spectacle. Photo credit: NASA/Sandra Joseph-Kevin O'Connell
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    Space shuttle Discovery lands

    Image above: Detoured by poor weather at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Discovery set its sights on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., instead. It touched down at the West Coast base after traveling 5.7 million miles during almost 14 days in orbit. Photo credit: NASA/Tom Tschida
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    Discovery lands with its 747 Carrier Aircraft.

    Image above: The 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft touches down at Kennedy with Discovery on its back. The 747 took two days to fly Discovery from California to Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller
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    Space shuttle Discovery roared majestically into the skies over NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., moments before midnight on Aug. 28, 2009, to begin a two-day chase of the International Space Station. Discovery's payload bay was filled with a cargo module known as Leonardo that itself was packed with experiments, scientific equipment and a treadmill that found fame as the namesake of comedian Stephen Colbert.

    After nine days working with the six people living on the station, the seven astronauts of Discovery returned to their spacecraft, closed the hatches between the spaceships and Discovery began preparations to return to Earth.

    Weather in Florida was not welcoming for Discovery, so after waiting an extra day in orbit to see if the conditions at Kennedy would clear, the astronauts aimed instead for Edwards Air Force Base in California. With hospitable conditions on the West Coast, Discovery began a flawless entry into the atmosphere. Veteran commander Rick "C.J." Sturckow skillfully glided the shuttle over the Pacific Ocean and onto one of the concrete runways at Edwards at 8:53 p.m. EDT on Sept. 11.

    With its additional day in space, Discovery completed 5.7 million miles in 13 days and 20 hours.

    After a week of preparations by shuttle specialists, Discovery was ready to take off again, this time on the back of a modified 747 known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Just as with its return from space, however, weather did not cooperate with Discovery. After forecasters declared acceptable conditions, the 747 was able to take off from Edwards on Sept. 20 with Discovery. It took a couple days of flying over the Southeastern United States before the shuttle appeared over Florida skies again. Discovery and the 747 touched down at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy just after noon on Sept. 21. The shuttle was inside its protective hangar by the next morning to begin getting ready for its next flight.

Shuttle Features

STS-128 Outfits Station for New Science

Leonardo inside Discovery.

Discovery carried a host of new science experiments and research equipment to the International Space Station to outfit the laboratory for more space-based studies.

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     Mission Elapsed Time:
     13 days, 20 hours, 53 minutes, 45 seconds

     Total Miles Traveled
     More than 5.7 million

     Official Landing Times
     Main gear touchdown:
    8:53:25 p.m. EDT
     Nose gear touchdown:
    8:53:34 p.m. EDT
     Wheels stop:
    8:54:35 p.m. EDT

Launch and Landing Coverage

Related Multimedia

Mission Extras