August 24, 2009

STS-128 Launch

Update 4: NASA has decided to attempt launching at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, August 28. This is to allow more time for the engineers to analyze the problem that had occurred.

Update 3: During the 48 hour scrub, NASA will try to analyze the problem. Currently, a launch time of 12:22 a.m. on Friday, August 28 (EDT) has been set, but that may change as more details are found out about the problem.

Update 2: The launch attempt for Wednesday morning has been scrubbed, due to a problem with the fill-and-drain valve inside the shuttle's aft compartment. No date for a further launch attempt has been set at this time.

Update: The Tuesday morning launch was cancelled due to weather. The next attempt will take place at 1:10 a.m., Wednesday morning (Eastern Time).

On Tuesday (August 25), at 1:36 a.m. (Eastern Time), the space shuttle Discovery is expected to launch from Cape Canaveral, for STS-128's flight to the International Space Station. This launch is one of the few last space shuttle launches remaining for the aging space vehicle due for retiring in 2010. There are currently expected to be only six more flights after STS-128. Additionally, this flight is expected to have the last launch conducted completely during the night. This results in a spectacular view of the launch.

If you're in the Southeastern United States, near Florida and Cape Canaveral, you can very easily see the launch because of the brightness from the solid rocket boosters. People in other parts of the Eastern United States may be able to see the shuttle due to its main engines, after the boosters are released, until Main Engine Cut Off. However for people in the North, the shuttle will appear very low near the horizon and may be blocked by trees or buildings.

You can find out more information about the launch and how to view it from this article on, and get facts about the mission from this NASA page.

Image: NASA

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