Sunday, September 20, 2009

Live: (Roughly) 1,284 miles to go for Discovery

Blogger update, 2:24 p.m.: The second leg of Discovery's cross-country ferry flight is under way, as the shuttle and its 747 carrier aircraft have departed Amarillo for Fort Worth. The trip should take a little over an hour.

Follow the flight's progress by clicking on the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft's tail number: NASA911.

Also track the NASA C-9 pathfinder aircraft flying ahead of Discovery: NASA932.

Blogger update, 1:05 p.m.: NASA says the second leg of Discovery's ferry flight should begin around 1:45 p.m. EDT, a 70-minute jog southeast through Texas to Fort Worth Naval Air Station.

The space shuttle orbiter Discovery, riding on the back of a 747 jumbo jet, has touched down in Amarillo, Tex.

Discovery landed just after noon at the international airport named for Rick Husband, an Amarillo native killed when Columbia broke up during re-entry in 2003.

According to the airport's Web site, the distance to Orlando is 1,284 miles, so give or take a few, that's roughly what Discovery has left to reach Kennedy Space Center during a planned two-day ferry flight that began this morning in California.

Discovery took off from Edwards Air Force Base at 9:20 a.m. EDT.

The first leg of the trip travelled more than 900 miles and took about two hours and 43 minutes.

The next stop was to be determined after a briefing about weather conditions to the east. The flight could resume within an hour or two.

NASA hopes the ferry flight makes two more stops today, delivering Discovery as far as Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La.

That would put the shuttle on track to return to its Florida home port on Monday morning.

IMAGE: From a distance, onlookers watch shuttle Discovery's arrival at Rick Husband International Airport in Amarillo, Tex. Photos courtesy of

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