Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Welcome Home!

Mon, 19 Apr 2010 05:19:57 -0500

Space shuttle Discovery astronauts were awakened at 12:21 a.m. EDT to “The Star Spangled Banner” this morning, played for Commander Alan Poindexter.

Since then, the astronauts have been marching through their landing day timeline. Deorbit preparations began at 3:43 a.m. and Discovery’s payload bay doors were closed at about 5 a.m.

Mission Control Entry Flight Director Bryan Lunney and his team are overseeing Discovery’s systems and monitoring weather conditions at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility. Currently, conditions are “no go” due to showers in the vicinity. Astronaut Chris Ferguson is flying weather reconnaissance and reporting the results to Mission Control. Lunney and his team are expected to make a “go/no go” decision for the deorbit burn at about 7:30 a.m. The burn would occur at 7:43 a.m. followed by a landing at Kennedy’s runway 33 at 8:48 a.m.

Space shuttle Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center in  Florida.
Image above: Space shuttle Discovery lands at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Discovery and the STS-131 mission crew, Commander Alan Poindexter, Pilot James P. Dutton Jr. and Mission Specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki returned from their mission to the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

"Really Great Mission" for Discovery and Crew

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 09:22:37 AM PDT

Mission managers held a post-landing news conference at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, and described the mission as very successful.

"Wrapping up 131 here from Discovery -- a really great mission. A lot of good science and a lot of good stuff delivered up to the station. Couldn't be more proud of the teams," said Launch Integration Manager Mike Moses, who described post-flight shuttle Discovery as "a very clean vehicle."

Earlier, after physicals aboard the crew transport vehicle, space shuttle Discovery's seven astronauts took a walk around the spacecraft that carried them more than six million miles. They paused to each express their thoughts about the mission and their gratitude to those on the ground who helped make the mission safe and successful.

"We had a lot of adversity but we overcame it all with some great team work," said Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson, who participated in the mission's three spacewalks and previously spent five months at the space station. "I've had two homecomings this flight. I got to go home to the International Space Station and now I get to come home to KSC. To all of you who helped get us up and bring us back, thank you so very much. God bless America."

The astronauts returned to crew quarters aboard the silver Astrovan, the same vehicle that carried them to the launch pad for their liftoff. They are expected to return to their home base at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston tomorrow.

Discovery's touchdown at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida came at 9:08 a.m. EDT on April 20, after a one-day delay due to weather. (here)

Welcome home, Discovery!

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