Spaceflight Now





The Mission




Orbiter: Discovery
Mission: STS-119
Payload: S6 power truss
Launch: March 15, 2009
Time: 7:43 p.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: March 28 @ 3:13 p.m. EDT
Site: Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC
Mission Status Center

STS-119 Video Coverage

High Definition Video

NASA TV (rev. S)

Launch Windows Chart

Countdown Timeline

Ascent Timeline

Master Flight Plan

ISS Spacewalk Stats

Space Shuttle Schedule

Space Shuttle History

Manned Spaceflights

STS-119 Mission Index

Our Shuttle Archive




The Crew




Meet the astronauts flying aboard shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission.

Meet the Astronauts

CDR: Lee Archambault

PLT: Tony Antonelli

MS 1: Joe Acaba

MS 2: Steve Swanson

MS 3: Ricky Arnold

MS 4: John Phillips

Up: Koichi Wakata

Down: Sandy Magnus

Current Demographics

Flight Assignments




Spaceflight Now +



Subscribe to Spaceflight Now Plus for access to our extensive video collections!
How do I sign up?
Video archive

STS-119: The programs

In advance of shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission to the station, managers from both programs discuss the flight.

 Play

STS-119: The mission

A detailed preview of Discovery's mission to deliver and activate the space station's final power truss is provided in this briefing.

 Play

STS-119: Spacewalks

Four spacewalks are planned during Discovery's STS-119 mission to the station.

 Play

STS-119: The Crew

The Discovery astronauts, led by commander Lee Archambault, meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.

 Play

Become a subscriber
More video



Discovery's re-entry to collect hypersonic research
BY CRAIG COVAULT
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: March 27, 2009

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. - As the space shuttle Discovery dives through re-entry to end STS-119, the aerodynamic flow on its outer left wing will be deliberately tripped from laminar to turbulent flow at Mach 15.

This is much earlier than at Mach 11 when this area of the aft wing would normally go turbulent during the re-entry. The early shift to turbulent flow will send temperatures on that area of the wing soaring to 2,200 deg. F.


"Speed bump" on orbiter left wing has tripped boundary layer near leading edge. Credit: NASA
 
In comparison, a smooth shuttle wing should be generating no more than 1,600-1,700 deg. F airflow had the wing stayed laminar until Mach 11.

The objective on STS-119 and the remaining one or two flights of Discovery will be to intensively document the characteristics of how the airflow is tripped from laminar to turbulent, generating the potentially dangerous increase in heating which could damage the orbiter, according to Chuck H. Campbell, Johnson Space Center Principal Investigator for the Orbiter Boundary Layer Transition Flight Experiment.

The airflow will be deliberately tripped by a four-inch wide and quarter-inch tall "speed bump" built into a test tile surrounded at various distances by about 10 tiles instrumented to document temperature changes.

The speed bump fence is secured into BRI-18, a robust tile with added densification atop.

Over the 30-year history of the shuttle program, protruding gap fillers have caused such early boundary layer transitions on the wing about a dozen times. These were unknown to the crew or Mission Control until charred tile areas, sometimes accompanied by gap filler evidence, was found on the runway at Kennedy or Edwards AFB, Calif.


This graphic illustrates the Discovery test. Credit: NASA
 
Columbia and her crew was lost in 2003 because of external tank debris damaged her wing. This was followed by the STS-114 return-to-flight mission where a protruding gap filler was removed during an emergency extravehicular activity (EVA) because of concerns about the unknowns of increased belly heating caused by the protuberance.

The test has been supported by wind tunnel and analytical testing before the launch of STS-119.

And during the re-entry an attempt will be made to have the U.S. Navy's Cast-Glance Infrared Optical sensor mounted on a P-3 Orion to intersect the descending shuttle for high-speed infrared imagery of the hotter than normal footprint.

The success of the exercise will depend in part upon whether the orbiter flies a re-entry track that can be underflown by the Navy P-3.

On the subsequent STS-128, the plan is for Discovery to carry a somewhat taller speed bump that will further broaden the science base.

The Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle program is helping to provide advocacy for the BRI-18 test because of plans to use that more-robust tile on Orion.


An illustration of the special tile on Discovery that will trip the boundary layer. Credit: NASA
 
Advancements of any sort are welcomed because many aspects of this problem will still yield significantly to focused inquiry, according to an Air Force/NASA paper on the project authored by Campbell.

"Because the problem of hypersonic BLT is so complex, the infrastructure requirements are also significant. This is true whether ground based experiments, high fidelity computations, instrumentation techniques or flight testing are the subject of interest. For this reason and others, effective and strategic use of infrastructure is a very important consideration.

"Launch vehicles and launch systems involve infrastructure that require large investments and many technology requirements. From the standpoint of economics and infrastructure investment, opportunity cost is often used to describe the costs associated with being able to accomplish an activity. The opportunity cost of having a launch system such as the space shuttle is high.

"Great accomplishments have been made by utilizing the shuttle to advance the state of the art in many technical and scientific areas - from astronomy, to liquid rocket propulsion systems, to reusable launch systems, etc. Therefore, in this context great accomplishments require significant infrastructure," Campbell says.

Following the STS-119 tests, the BRI-18 speed bump and associated tiles will be pulled from Discovery and shipped to NASA Langley for runs in Langley's Mach 6 and Mach 10 wind tunnels.

It will also be shipped to Buffalo, N.Y., for testing in the Calspa/Cubic shock tunnel.

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: PRE-LANDING MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: EDUCATIONAL EVENT WITH SCHOOL IN HAWAII PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LANDING TESTS OF SHUTTLE'S FLIGHT CONTROLS PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 12 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED ANIMATION OF LATE INSPECTIONS PLAY

VIDEO: LEFT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING UPWARD PLAY
VIDEO: LEFT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING INBOARD PLAY
VIDEO: LEFT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING DOWNWARD PLAY
VIDEO: RIGHT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING UPWARD PLAY
VIDEO: RIGHT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING INBOARD PLAY
VIDEO: RIGHT-HAND BOOSTER CAMERA LOOKING DOWNWARD PLAY

VIDEO: SOYUZ ROCKET LAUNCHES EXPEDITION 19 PLAY
VIDEO: FULL EXPERIENCE FROM LIFTOFF TO ORBIT PLAY
VIDEO: THREE CAMERA REPLAYS OF THE SOYUZ LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED HIGHLIGHTS OF CREW'S LAUNCH PREPS PLAY
VIDEO: CROWD WELCOMES CREW AT BAIKONUR PAD PLAY
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS SITE 254 FOR LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: VIPS MEET THE CREW ON LAUNCH MORNING PLAY
VIDEO: CREW MEMBERS DON THEIR SOKOL SPACESUITS PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH MORNING TRADITIONS AT CREW QUARTERS PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 11 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF FLYING AROUND THE SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: STUNNING VIEWS OF SPACE STATION FROM FLYAROUND PLAY
VIDEO: FOOTAGE OF SHUTTLE DISCOVERY AFTER UNDOCKING PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE DISCOVERY UNDOCKS FROM SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: HATCHWAY CLOSED BETWEEN TWO SPACECRAFT PLAY
VIDEO: FAREWELL CEREMONY BETWEEN THE TWO CREWS PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF UNDOCKING AN FLYAROUND PLAY

VIDEO: SOYUZ MOVED TO LAUNCH PAD FOR EXPEDITION 19 PLAY
VIDEO: ROCKET HOISTED VERTICALLY ONTO LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH ISS DEPUTY PROGRAM MANAGER PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH FORMER ISS COMMANDER PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 10 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: PRESIDENT OBAMA CALLS THE SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: JOINT CREW IN-FLIGHT NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 9 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER RICK ARNOLD WORKS ON STATION ARM PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER JOE ACABA MOVES RAIL CART PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 8 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: NEWS MEDIA INTERVIEWS WITH CREW PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 7 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: WALKTHROUGH OF SPACEWALK NO. 2 PLAN PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 6 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: NEWS MEDIA INTERVIEWS WITH CREW PLAY
VIDEO: SECOND SOLAR WING FULLY DEPLOYED PLAY
VIDEO: SECOND SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY PLAY
VIDEO: FIRST SOLAR WING FULLY DEPLOYED PLAY
VIDEO: FIRST SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED ANIMATION OF SOLAR ARRAY DEPLOYMENT PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 5 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER STEVE SWANSON RELEASES LOCKS PLAY
VIDEO: STARBOARD 6 TRUSS ATTACHED TO THE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: WALKTHROUGH OF SPACEWALK NO. 1 PLAN PLAY
VIDEO: OVERVIEW OF THE STARBOARD 6 TRUSS PAYLOAD PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED ANIMATION OF TRUSS INSTALLATION PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: POWER TRUSS HANDED FROM SHUTTLE TO STATION PLAY
VIDEO: STARBOARD 6 TRUSS HOISTED FROM PAYLOAD BAY PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF S6 TRUSS UNBERTHING PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED TOUR OF DISCOVERY'S PAYLOAD BAY PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE CREW WELCOMED ABOARD STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY DOCKS TO SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE'S POINT OF VIEW DURING BACKFLIP PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY PERFORMS 360-DEGREE BACKFLIP PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF RENDEZVOUS AND DOCKING PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF HEAT SHIELD INSPECTIONS PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: THE FULL STS-119 LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: EXTERNAL TANK CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: VAB ROOF PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-1 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-2 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-6 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: FRONT CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: BEACH TRACKER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PLAYALINDA BEACH PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: THE VIP VIEWING SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PRESS SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: WEST TOWER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 009 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 050 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 051 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 054 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 061 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 063 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 070 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 071 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS-11 TRACKER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS-23 TRACKER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE PLAY
VIDEO: INSIDE MISSION CONTROL DURING LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: PAYLOAD BAY DOORS OPENED IN ORBIT PLAY

VIDEO: SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY BLASTS OFF PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE'S CREW MODULE HATCH CLOSED FOR FLIGHT PLAY
VIDEO: MISSION SPECIALIST STEVE SWANSON BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: PILOT TONY ANTONELLI BOARDS DISCOVERY PLAY
VIDEO: COMMANDER LEE ARCHAMBAULT BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS QUARTERS FOR LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS DON SPACESUITS FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF SUNRISE AT LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF HYDROGEN ACCESS ARM RETRACTION PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF SATURDAY NIGHT'S GANTRY ROLLBACK PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S SHUTTLE AND WEATHER UPDATE BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: POST-SCRUB NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY IN THE PREDAWN DARKESS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S ROLLBACK OF PAD GANTRY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF PAD GANTRY ROLLING BACK PLAY
VIDEO: THE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE IN FLORIDA FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: POST-ARRIVAL COMMENTS FROM THE CREW PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: FLIGHT READINESS REVIEW BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: SECOND LAUNCH POSTPONEMENT BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: NARRATED MISSION OVERVIEW MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MEET SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S ASTRONAUTS PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH COMMANDER LEE ARCHAMBAULT PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH PILOT TONY ANTONELLI PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS1 JOE ACABA PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS2 STEVE SWANSON PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS3 RICKY ARNOLD PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS4 JOHN PHILLIPS PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS5 KOICHI WAKATA PLAY

VIDEO: NASA OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE LAUNCH DELAY PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE STATION'S VIBRATIONS DURING REBOOST PLAY

VIDEO: INFORMAL NEWS CONFERENCE AT RUNWAY PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE FOR PRACTICE COUNTDOWN PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY POSITIONED ATOP PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: EARLY MORNING ROLLOUT FROM THE VAB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY ARRIVING AT PAD 39A PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY HOISTED FOR ATTACHMENT TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CRANE ROTATES DISCOVERY VERTICALLY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DISCOVERY MOVES TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NOSE WHEEL LANDING GEAR RETRACTED PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY GOING VERTICAL PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ASSEMBLY BUILDING CRANE WORK PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY'S TRIP TO VAB PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF PAYLOAD'S MOVE PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: STS-119 MISSION OVERVIEW BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALKS PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY
MORE: STS-119 VIDEO COVERAGE
SUBSCRIBE NOW

John Glenn Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Celebrate the shuttle program

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Anniversary Shuttle Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Mercury anniversary

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.