NASA Targets Edwards Air Force Base for Discovery Landing
NASA officials Sept. 11 scratched the Kennedy Space Center in Florida as a
landing site for the space shuttle Discovery and decided to target California's
Edwards Air Force Base for an 8:53 p.m. EDT
landing. The same stormy East Coast weather that delayed Discovery's scheduled
Sept. 10 landing forced the change of landing sites.
Throughout most of the day, NASA was still hoping for a Florida landing, but after the weather forced Mission Control to call a no-go for the first of two Cape Canaveral landing windows, NASA switched to Edwards Air Force Base. The de-orbit burn is now set to begin at 7:47 p.m. EDT for the landing at Edwards. The burn lasts 3 to 4 minutes, slowing Discovery enough to begin its descent.
"Basically we have a very unstable day at the Kennedy Space Center," said mission commentator Rob Navias on NASA TV.
Discovery is returning from a resupply mission to the ISS (International Space Station). During eight and a half days docked at the space station, the Discovery's crew delivered and unpacked more than seven tons of supplies, science racks and equipment, as well as additional environmental hardware to sustain six crew members on the orbital outpost. Discovery is returning to Earth with more than 5,000 pounds of trash, surplus items and scientific experiments.
Over the course of three spacewalks, the Discovery crew replaced a large coolant tank and retrieved experiments from the station's hull, in addition to completing minor repair jobs.
The mission also marked a crew change at the space station, with NASA astronaut Nicole Stott replacing American Tim Kopra, who completed a two-month tour of duty aboard the ISS. Stott is scheduled for a three-month stay.
Discovery's crew also delivered the COLBERT (Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill) treadmill, an exercise device named after comedian Stephen Colbert. Construction of the $5 million high-tech treadmill will not begin until after Discovery has departed.