Monday, September 21, 2009

Shuttle's Ferry Flight Presented Challenging Weather

One of the pilots for Discovery's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft says today's final leg of the ferry flight presented the most challenging weather situation he's dealt with in the more than 10 cross-country piggyback treks he's flown.
The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:05 p.m. EDT.
Discovery will be detached from the modified jumbo jet during the next 14-18 hours. Tuesday, the shuttle will be towed to Orbiter Processing Facility-3 where the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo will be removed from the payload bay and the shuttle will be prepared for its next mission, STS-131. Discovery is targeted for launch to the International Space Station in March 2010.
Discovery's 2,500 mile ferry flight began at 9:20 a.m. EDT Sunday after taking off from Edwards Air Force Base in California. The shuttle landed there Sept. 11 to end its STS-128 mission to the space station. The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft made three stops yesterday. Two were refueling stops, one at Rick Husband International Airport in Amarillo, Texas, the other at Ft. Worth Naval Air Station, Texas. The third and final stop Sunday was at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La., where Discovery stayed overnight. The ferry flight team departed Barksdale at about 9:40 a.m. EDT today and traveled non-stop to Kennedy, maneuvering around storms along the way