Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Final Inspection of Discovery

After performing a flawless undocking and flyaround, the STS-128 crew now is set to conduct a final inspection of Discovery’s wing leading edge and nose cap. Managers should see the results at tomorrow’s Mission Management Team briefing. There are no indications of concern.

Discovery is targeting a landing Thursday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The preliminary landing weather forecast looks fairly typical, with a possibility of rain.

Program managers are still targeting Nov. 12 for the launch of the next shuttle mission, STS-129, but are assessing the possibility of launching as early as Nov. 9.

Discovery Undocks from Station

Space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station at 3:26 p.m. EDT. Once safely separated from the orbiting complex by about 450 feet, pilot Kevin Ford conducted a flyaround of the space station. The maneuver provides an opportunity to get video of the station that can be used to inspect for damage or general condition of the spacecraft’s exterior. A final separation burn occurred around 5:09 p.m.

Later, the shuttle crew will again engage the shuttle robotic arm, its extension boom and cameras for a last look at the thermal protection system to check for any damage.