|Live Landing Coverage|
All times are EDT unless otherwise stated.|
The Virtual Launch Control Center was activated Tuesday,
Aug. 9, 2005 at 3:45 a.m. EDT.
The Virtual Launch Control Center was deactivated Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2005 at 10:40 a.m. EDT.
Review our archived coverage of Discovery's first landing attempt Aug. 8, 2005.
10:40 a.m. - "We have had a fantastic mission," Commander Eileen Collins said with a smile. At her side were her crewmates, Pilot James Kelly and Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi, Stephen Robinson, Wendy Lawrence, Charles Camarda and Andy Thomas. "We are so glad to be able to come back and say it was successful. The crew was really anxious to walk around and see what the outside looked like. We brought Discovery back in great shape, as you can see behind us. This is a wonderful moment for all of us to experience."
10:30 a.m. - All seven STS-114 crewmembers exited the Crew Transport Vehicle and were greeted by Steven G. Schmidt, deputy director of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. Along with three astronaut support personnel, they'll spend a few minutes doing a walk-around inspection, taking a close look at orbiter Discovery.
Did you know?
Before this morning's landing, the last orbiter to land at Edwards Air Force Base was Endeavour on June 19, 2002 at the conclusion of mission STS-111.
9:13 a.m. - Commander Eileen Collins and Pilot Jim Kelly may choose to do a walk-around inspection of Discovery after they've exited the Crew Transport Vehicle. Other crewmembers might choose to join them.
The crew is expected to return to Ellington Field in Houston tomorrow at about 4 p.m.
9:05 a.m. - Commander Eileen Collins has been given the go for egress. She's turning over her seat to an astronaut support person and exiting Discovery.
8:59 a.m. - The crew is finally climbing out of Discovery now and entering the Crew Transport Vehicle that's in position next to the crew module hatch.
8:55 a.m. - Mission Control just passed a message along to the STS-114 crew. From the International Space Station, NASA astronaut John Phillips and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev offer their congratulations on a successful landing.
8:52 a.m. - Closeout operations continue aboard Discovery. The crew is expected to egress the orbiter shortly. It's been 40 minutes since Discovery and her crew of seven touched down on runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. to conclude STS-114, a 13-day mission to the International Space Station.
Did you know?
Astronauts vigorously train in a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) before flying the Space Shuttle. An astronaut will make approximately 500 landing approaches in the STA. The crew member who will be commanding a Space Shuttle mission will usually have at least doubled that number in approaches.
8:34 a.m. - Still inside Discovery, the astronauts have been cleared to take off their bulky, bright orange launch and entry suits.
8:25 a.m. - It's still about 40 minutes until sunrise at Edwards Air Force Base, where Discovery is being safed following a successful landing at 8:12 this morning.
8:21 a.m. - The ground operations team is continuing through the post-landing safing checklist. The flight crew normally exits the orbiter about 45 minutes or so after touchdown.
8:17 a.m. - A convoy of landing support trucks and equipment are heading out onto runway 22 to begin safing the orbiter and assisting the flight crew. There are 78 Kennedy personnel in that convoy, and a turnaround team of 174 people will fly to Edwards from Kennedy on Wednesday to help prepare Discovery for its ferry flight back to Florida. It takes about 6 days to ready an orbiter for that return flight atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747.
Today's official landing time was 8:11:22 a.m. EDT.
8:13 a.m. - Wheels stop. "Happy to be back," Collins said to Capcom Ken Ham after he offered congratulations.
8:12 a.m. - Touchdown! Discovery is rolling out on runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base!
Main gear touchdown, nose gear touchdown, chutes deployed... and Discovery is home.
8:10 a.m. - Commander Eileen Collins reports she has the runway in sight! Discovery's altitude is 17,000 feet -- 10 miles to touchdown.
8:07 a.m. - Discovery's wings leveling as it approaches the landing site. Now that the orbiter has gone subsonic, Commander Eileen Collins has assumed control. She'll fly Discovery on a 194-degree right overhead turn to align with runway 22.
8:04 a.m. - This will be the 50th landing of a Space Shuttle at Edwards Air Force Base. Eight minutes, 135 miles to touchdown.
8:02 a.m. - 10 minutes until touchdown. Discovery is in range of ground tracking and using Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) data. There is one bank remaining in the series of four.
7:59 a.m. - 470 miles to touchdown, speed 7,400 miles per hour. Discovery is banking back to the left, the third in a series of four steep rolls to help dissipate speed as it heads for touchdown.
7:56 a.m. - Traveling 17 times the speed of sound, Discovery is within 1,000 miles of the runway at Edwards Air Force Base.
7:52 a.m. - In its first of three roll reversals, Discovery is banking back to the right with its wings angled 75 degrees to horizontal. Discovery's current speed is 14,000 miles per hour at an altitude of 217,000 feet.
7:50 a.m. - Discovery is traveling 15,400 miles per hour at 230,000 feet. About 2,000 miles to Edwards.
7:46 a.m. - The rear steering jets have been activated; Discovery is beginning the transition from spacecraft to aircraft as it descends toward landing. The first roll reversal is coming up shortly.
7:45 a.m. - Discovery is beginning its first in a series of four banks that will help dissipate its speed as it plunges through the atmosphere. The first roll is to the left at 80 degrees to horizontal. The orbiter's nose is angled upward 40 degrees.
7:43 a.m. - Altitude 56 miles. Discovery is traveling 17,000 miles per hour and is less than 4,000 miles from Edwards Air Force Base.
7:40 a.m. - Now flying almost 400,000 feet above the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, Discovery is just beginning to encounter the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere.
7:30 a.m. - Ten minutes until Entry Interface.
7:28 a.m. - All three of Discovery's APUs are now up and operating well.
7:25 a.m. - Fifteen minutes until Entry Interface, when Discovery begins to feel the effects of Earth's atmosphere. Discovery's altitude is 175 miles as it continues its descent.
7:20 a.m. - Part of Discovery's reaction control system, the rear steering jets control the orbiter during the early part of descent. As the orbiter transitions from spacecraft to aircraft, those jets are phased out as air pressure builds, and the orbiter's aerosurfaces become active.
7:17 a.m. - Current altitude is 213 statute miles.
7:12 a.m. - Over the next 30 minutes, Discovery will free-fall until it reaches Entry Interface, about 75 miles over the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. Current altitude is 220 statute miles. Post burn procedures are in work. Touchdown is one hour away.
7:09 a.m. - Burn complete! Mission Control reports a good deorbit burn -- no trim required. Expect Entry Interface at about 7:40 a.m. and landing at 8:12 a.m.
7:06 a.m. - The deorbit burn is underway! High above the western Indian Ocean, Discovery's two orbital maneuvering systems are firing for a 2 minute, 42 second burn that will put it on a trajectory to Edwards Air Force Base. Discovery and her crew of seven are on their way home after the historic Return to Flight mission to the International Space Station!
7:01 a.m. - Five minutes until the burn. The first APU is up and running.
6:56 a.m. - Now 10 minutes away from the deorbit burn. About 5 minutes prior to the burn, Pilot Jim Kelly will activate one of three auxiliary power units. The remaining two will be activated after the burn, when Discovery has begun its descent. The auxiliary power units power the hydraulic systems that operate the orbiter's aerosurfaces, including the rudder, elevons and landing gear.
Did you know?
The Space Shuttle is harder to land than a conventional airplane. In fact, it's been compared to a flying brick -- big, heavy, and less aerodynamic than most aircraft.
6:52 a.m. - Discovery is in the proper orientation, or attitude, for the deorbit burn. The burn is coming up in just a few minutes at 7:06 a.m. Touchdown at Edwards Air Force Base runway 22 is set for 8:12 a.m.
Discovery will have traveled 5.8 million miles during the 13-day Return to Flight mission.
6:43 a.m. - Go for the burn! Capcom Ken Ham has informed Commander Eileen Collins that it's time to come home.
6:38 a.m. - In Mission Control, Houston, Entry Flight Director Leroy Cain will poll his team shortly for the go/no-go decision for the deorbit burn scheduled for 7:06 a.m.
6:35 a.m. - The astronauts' seating arrangement is slightly different for landing than it was for launch.
+ View crew seating assignments
6:25 a.m. - The go/no-go decision for the deorbit burn is expected in about 15 minutes or so. Weather at Edwards continues to be favorable, with no issues for landing.
6:17 a.m. - Discovery is beginning its 219th Earth orbit. If the orbiter lands at Edwards Air Force Base on its first opportunity, this will be its final orbit.
The deorbit burn, scheduled for 7:06 a.m., will slow the orbiter by just about 186 miles per hour, but that will be enough to put it back on a return trajectory. Traveling in a tail-first orientation, Discovery's two orbital maneuvering system engines will fire for 2 minutes, 42 seconds. At the time of the burn, the orbiter will be about 215 statute miles above Earth's surface. When it reaches Entry Interface and begins to encounter Earth's atmosphere, it will be about 75 miles above the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. As Discovery descends into the atmosphere, its nose will be elevated about 40 degrees and its wings level.
6:12 a.m. - Capcom Ken Ham has informed Commander Eileen Collins that she and her crewmates are to resume fluid loading. Pilot Jim Kelly will pick up with the auxiliary power unit pre-start in about 15 minutes. This morning's landing at Edwards will be about 54 minutes before sunrise. The landing aids at the runway have been set to "night bright" so they are easier to see in the dark.
6:04 a.m. - We're now about an hour away from the scheduled deorbit burn that will bring Discovery to an 8:12 a.m. touchdown on runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base. Astronaut Mike Bloomfield is flying weather reconnaissance in the Shuttle Training Aircraft at Edwards. There are no issues of concern in the forecast at this time.
5:30 a.m. - Discovery will be above Madagascar at 7:06 a.m., when the two orbital maneuvering system engines fire for the deorbit burn. At about 7:40 a.m., at an altitude of almost 400,000 feet, the orbiter will begin to encounter the upper levels of Earth's atmosphere, known as Entry Interface. It will perform a series of four banks -- a roll command followed by three roll reversals -- as it plunges into the atmosphere. Discovery will pass just north of Los Angeles, Calif. as it approaches Edwards Air Force Base, where it is headed for touchdown on runway 22.
The 1 billion candlepower xenon lights at the runway will be turned on in anticipation of this morning's landing.
5:25 a.m. - A landing on the first Edwards opportunity would be considered a night landing, taking place about 53 minutes before sunrise. At Edwards, astronaut Mike Bloomfield is preparing to take off in another Shuttle Training Aircraft to monitor weather around the landing site. There are 7 knot winds and two scattered cloud decks at this time, but they are not concerns for landing.
Did you know?
Initially, all end-of-mission Shuttle landings were conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The first Kennedy Space Center landing took place in 1984. Today, Kennedy is considered the prime landing site.
5:15 a.m. - If Discovery lands at Edwards Air Force Base on its first opportunity, STS-114 will have lasted 13 days, 21 hours, 32 minutes, 48 seconds.
5:09 a.m. - Capcom Ken Ham is walking Discovery Pilot Jim Kelly through the pre-landing checklist as they prepare for landing at Edwards Air Force Base later this morning. This will be the 50th shuttle landing at Edwards Air Force Base. The deorbit burn will last two minutes, 43 seconds beginning at 7:06 a.m.
At Kennedy Space Center, Chief Astronaut Kent Rominger is headed back to the Shuttle Landing Facility in the Shuttle Training Aircraft after several hours monitoring the unstable -- and ultimately uncooperative -- weather at Kennedy.
5:05 a.m. - Touchdown at Edwards Air Force Base is scheduled for 8:12 a.m. on orbit 219. Deorbit burn is expected to begin at 7:06 a.m.
5:02 a.m. - Continued instability at Kennedy Space Center has led Mission Control to wave off on the second landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center. Discovery's preparing for a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. today.
4:58 a.m. - Small showers keep popping up within the 30-mile limit, so weather continues to be an issue this morning. The go/no-go decision on the deorbit burn is due in about 15 minutes or so.
Discovery has advised Mission Control that the auxiliary power unit pre-start is complete.
4:53 a.m. - Discovery was just given the all-clear to proceed with a steering check of the orbital maneuvering system, or "gimbal check."
4:50 a.m. - If Discovery lands on this second opportunity at Kennedy Space Center, its path will take it across Mexico and Brownsville Texas, and out across the Gulf of Mexico, where it may be visible overhead. The orbiter will cross the west coast of Florida and travel almost directly over the Orlando area as it approaches Kennedy.
4:45 a.m. - Stand by for the go/no-go decision for the deorbit burn. That decision is expected in about half an hour.
4:40 a.m. - The weather activity hugging the eastern edge of the 30-mile mark is staying farther away from Kennedy Space Center, and that's encouraging, but there is some evidence of electrical activity in the higher cloud layers. The weather over the field is essentially clear, so Mission Control is not as worried about mid-level cloud layers. And with that report from Capcom Ken Ham, the STS-114 crew has been encouraged to start fluid loading in anticipation of a possible deorbit burn at 5:37 for a landing at Kennedy Space Center on orbit 218 at 6:43 a.m. -- five minutes before sunrise.
4:16 a.m. - Chief Astronaut Kent Rominger, monitoring the weather around the Kennedy Space Center from the Shuttle Training Aircraft, is reporting that he can see stars as well as the ground, and that the questionable weather appears to be moving away and is now close to the edge of the 30-mile limit. "Over land still looks beautiful," he says. But Kennedy is not in the clear just yet.
4:15 a.m. - There are two important decisions to be made by Mission Control within the next hour. The first will occur about 4:35, when the crew would have to start "fluid loading," in which the astronauts drink large amounts of fluid to help in their re-adaptation to Earth's gravity. Flight controllers held off on fluid loading prior to the first landing opportunity because the uncooperative weather indicated a wave-off.
The next decision will be the go/no-go for the deorbit burn. That decision is expected about 5:10 or so. If the "go" is given, the burn will begin at 5:37 a.m. and last just under three minutes.
Did you know?
The Space Shuttle can't land in rainy weather. The weather-resistant coating burns off the white thermal protection tiles on the orbiter during launch and reentry, and if any moisture were to find its way underneath a tile, it could be trapped there and could cause a tile to buckle and fall off.
3:45 a.m. - Thank you for joining live coverage of today's landing of Discovery, concluding the Return to Flight mission to the International Space Station.
The first landing opportunity, at 5:07 this morning at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, was waved off at about 3 a.m. due to unfavorable weather -- the same reason yesterday's two opportunities were passed up. The forecast for now includes showers within 30 miles of the runway. Chief Astronaut Kent Rominger is flying weather reconnaissance in the Shuttle Training Aircraft once again, and continues to monitor weather conditions and keep Mission Control apprised of his findings.
For the second landing attempt at Kennedy, the deorbit burn will begin at 5:37 over the central Indian Ocean and last 2 minutes, 43 seconds. Entry Interface -- when the orbiter first begins to encounter Earth's atmosphere -- will take place over the Islands of French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean.
At about 1:25 a.m., Discovery's payload bay doors were closed and sealed for reentry. In anticipation of today's deorbit burn and landing, the orbiter is flying tail first in the direction of travel.
Relive our live coverage of Space Shuttle Discovery's launch
July 26, 2005!
For a landing overview, visit:
+ Space Shuttle Landing 101
|Virtual Launch Control Center Team
Lynda Warnock (InDyne, Inc.)
Anna Heiney (InDyne, Inc.)
Charlie Plain and
Elaine Marconi (InDyne, Inc.)
Cheryl Mansfield (InDyne, Inc.)
Alysia Lee (InDyne, Inc.)
Chris Chamberland and
Michael Chambers (InDyne, Inc.)
Jeanne Ryba and Dennis Armstrong (NASA)