March 28, 2009
Discovery Crew Gets Ready For Today’s Landing
Discovery's crew of seven is preparing for a 12:39 p.m. CDT landing today at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Commander Lee Archambault, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and returning Expedition 18 crew member Sandra Magnus were awakened this morning at 4:13 a.m. to the song "I Have a Dream" by ABBA. The song was played for Magnus.
As Discovery's crew prepared for landing, the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 19 Commander Gennady Padalka, Flight Engineer Michael Barratt and Spaceflight Participant Charles Simonyi docked with the International Space Station at 8:05 a.m.
Flight controllers reported to the space shuttle crew that weather conditions are forecast to be acceptable for their return home and that they could begin deorbit preparations at 7:33 a.m. Discovery will fire its engines at 11:33 a.m. to begin the descent to Florida on a northeasterly track that will cross over Central America and Cuba.
A second landing opportunity is available if needed for Discovery to land at Kennedy on Saturday, beginning with a deorbit burn engine firing at 1:08 p.m. leading to a 2:14 p.m. touchdown. That track would take Discovery over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico.
Kennedy is the only landing site being considered for Discovery on Saturday.
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