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The Mission




Orbiter: Discovery
Mission: STS-128
Payload: Leonardo
Launch: Aug. 28, 2009
Time: 11:59 p.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
Landing: Sept. 11 @ approx. 8:53 p.m. EDT
Site: Edwards Air Force Base, California
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Meet the astronauts flying aboard Discovery's STS-128 mission.

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CDR: Rick Sturckow

PLT: Kevin Ford

MS 1: Pat Forrester

MS 2: Jose Hernandez

MS 3: Danny Olivas

MS 4: Christer Fuglesang

Up: Nicole Stott

Down: Tim Kopra

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Weather scrubs shuttle Discovery's late-night launch
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: August 25, 2009


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Florida's hard-to-predict weather threw the shuttle Discovery's crew a curve ball early Tuesday, worsening when forecasters predicted improvement, generating unexpected lightning and offshore storms. While conditions improved as the morning wore on, the launch team ran out of time and NASA managers were forced to order a 24-hour delay.


Credit: NASA TV
See more images here

 
"Well looks like everything else was cooperating except for our local area weather," Launch Director Pete Nickolenko said to Mike Moses, chairman of NASA's Mission Management Team, during a final hold in the countdown.

"Yep, if we had 30 more minutes to go I think we'd have a real good shot today," Moses said. "But it's obviously not the right thing to do today. So we can knock it off."

"Yes sir, will do," Nickolenko said at 1:25 a.m. He then called Discovery commander Frederick "Rick" Sturckow, saying "well CJ, the vehicle and the operations were cooperating but the local weather unfortunately did not. So we'll have to scrub for the day, but hope to try again tomorrow."

"We copy that, sir," Sturckow replied. "When the weather is ready to cooperate, we'll be ready to go."

Launch was originally set for 1:36:04 a.m. EDT Tuesday and other than the weather, there were no problems of any significance.

Forecasters predicted an 80 percent chance of good weather at launch time, but the air was unstable, storms did not dissipate as expected and the forecast was downgraded to 60 percent no-go after the crew strapped in for launch.

Finally, with persistent rain showers and lightning strikes near the pad, Nickolenko called off the countdown.

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Sturckow, pilot Kevin Ford, flight engineer Jose Hernandez, Patrick Forrester, John "Danny" Olivas, European Space Agency astronaut Christer Fuglesang and space station flight engineer Nicole Stott planned to climb out of the orbiter and return to crew quarters to await another try early Wednesday.

Assuming no problems develop, NASA will reset the countdown for a launch attempt at 1:10:22 a.m. Wednesday. The most recent forecast called for a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

NASA must get Discovery off the pad by Aug. 30, or the flight will be delayed to mid October because of upcoming Japanese and Russian space station launches and a conflict with the Air Force Eastern Range, which provides tracking and telemetry for all rockets launched from Florida.

If the weather or a technical problem prevents a launch Wednesday, the shuttle team likely would stand down for 24 hours and then make two more back-to-back attempts Friday and Saturday.

The primary goals of the 13-day mission are to deliver more than 7.5 tons of equipment and supplies to the International Space Station and to ferry Stott to the lab complex to replace outgoing flight engineer Timothy Kopra.

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: NARRATED MISSION OVERVIEW MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MEET SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S ASTRONAUTS PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH RICK STURCKOW PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN FORD PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH PAT FORRESTER PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH JOSE HERNANDEZ PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH DANNY OLIVAS PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTER FUGLESANG PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH NICOLE STOTT PLAY

VIDEO: AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: THE LAUNCH COUNTDOWN GETS UNDERWAY PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE AT THE CAPE FOR LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: FLIGHT READINESS REVIEW SETS LAUNCH DATE PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: THE STS-128 MISSION OVERVIEW BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALKS PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE PROGRAM MANAGER EXPLAINS FOAM ISSUES PLAY

VIDEO: PAYLOAD BAY DOORS CLOSED FOR FLIGHT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: MISSION CARGO LOADED ABOARD DISCOVERY PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: CREW TOURS PAD'S CLEANROOM PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SHUTTLE EVACUATION PRACTICE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS BOARD DISCOVERY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: THE LAUNCH DAY SIMULATION BEGINS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: PAD BUNKER TRAINING FOR THE CREW PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW BRIEFED ON EMERGENCY PROCEDURES PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NIGHTTIME APPROACHES IN TRAINING AIRCRAFT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TEST-DRIVING EMERGENCY ARMORED TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: INFORMAL CREW NEWS CONFERENCE AT LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE FOR PRACTICE COUNTDOWN PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE DISCOVERY ROLLS OUT PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ORBITER HOISTED FOR MATING TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DISCOVERY MOVED TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF DISCOVERY ARRIVING IN VAB PLAY

VIDEO: PAYLOADS DELIVERED TO LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LEONARDO PUT INTO TRANSPORTER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: STATION'S NEW AMMONIA TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: MPLM HATCH CLOSED FOR FLIGHT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: INSIDE SHUTTLE MAIN ENGINE SHOP PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW EQUIPMENT INTERFACE TEST PLAY | HI-DEF
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