Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Discovery Crew Arrives For Practice Countdown

The astronauts destined to fly NASA's 128th shuttle mission arrived at Kennedy Space Center today to take part in emergency training at launch pad 39A and a two-day practice countdown.

Flying in sleek white-and-blue Northrop T-38 Talon training jets, mission commander Rick "C.J." Sturckow and his crewmates swept out over the Atlantic Ocean and got a glimpse of the shuttle at pad 39A before touching down on NASA's three-mile shuttle runway.

"Had a good look at the rocket sitting on the pad," said rookie pilot Kevin Ford. "We're ready to go fly."

"It's like coming home. So it's nice to be here and see old friends," added mission specialist Nicole Stott, only the fourth Kennedy Space Center alum to be selected to the astronaut corps.

A former Endeavour Flow Manager, Stott held a variety of shuttle processing jobs at during a 10-year stint at KSC that stretched from 1987 through 1997.

Stott will fly up to the International Space Station aboard Discovery and replace U.S. flight engineer Tim Kopra, who will return to Earth on the shuttle.

Discovery is tentatively scheduled to launch Aug. 25 on a 13-day mission aimed at outfitting the International Space Station with new crew quarters, science experiments and exercise equipment.

You can get more detail on the targeted launch date in the rollout story posted below.

The astronauts will stage an informal Q&A with reporters at pad 39A at 8:40 a.m. Thursday. You can watch it live here in The Flame Trench. Simply click the NASA TV box on the right side of the page to launch our NASA TV viewer. Be sure to refresh this page for periodic updates.

Sturckow and his crewmates will go through emergency training at the pad Thursday and then on Friday, the astronauts will don partial-pressure launch-and-entry suits and board Discovery for the last few hours of a launch-day dress rehearsal.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the Florida Today image of the STS-128 crew after their arrival today at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility. From left to right are mission specialists Nicole Stott, Christer Fuglesang of the European Space Agency, Danny Olivas, Jose Hernandez, Patrick Forrester, pilot Kevin Ford and mission commander Rick "C.J." Sturckow. Photo credit: Craig Rubadoux/Florida Today.


Jetstar said...


It's "Northrop" T-38 not "Northrup".


Todd Halvorson said...

Troy -- got it, thanks.

Todd Halvorson said...


Nice catch!