Sunday, September 20, 2009

Live: Discovery poised for morning return to KSC

Space shuttle Discovery is one stop from home.

Flying atop a 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, Discovery completed the third of four planned legs in a cross-country ferry flight from California around 6:45 p.m. EDT.

The joined shuttle orbiter and aircraft touched down at Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, La. for refueling and an overnight stay. Check out this report in Florida today's sister publication, the Shreveport Times.

Crews hope to start the final leg to Kennedy Space Center first thing Monday.

The stop at Barksdale follows two stops in Texas earlier today, in Amarillo and Fort Worth.

The ferry flight began as the sun rose at Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert, where Discovery and seven astronauts had landed Sept. 11 to end a 14-day International Space Station supply mission.

It was the 54th time in 128 missions that a shuttle landed at Edwards.

The last ferry flight before Discovery's was by Atlantis in June, following its return from a final mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

IMAGE NOTES: Space shuttle Discovery and its modified 747 carrier aircraft arrived at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana Sunday to complete the third leg of its ferry flight back to the Kennedy Space Center. Photo credit: Val Horvath, Shreveport Times.

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