Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 launch (Update: it was a real winner.)


Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission is set to lift off within minutes of the time of this blog post. My suggestion: space out to Soma FM's Mission Control channel in one browser tab (or on iTunes or your player of choice) while you watch Miles O'Brien hosting live coverage of the launch on, embedded after the jump. Follow Miles on Twitter here, and SpaceFlightNow here. I'll also be following @Astro_Jose = Mexican-American astronaut José Hernández, who tweets from space en Español (!!!).

Image (via NASA): "Seated are Commander Rick Sturckow (right) and Pilot Kevin Ford. From the left (standing) are mission specialists José Hernández, John "Danny" Olivas, Nicole Stott, European Space Agency's Christer Fuglesang and Patrick Forrester." Godspeed, all.


  1. Good suggestion, although the sound is about 6 seconds out of synch with the video, which is bound to be a bit more strange in about 8 minutes…

  2. Five decades in the space business and NASA still hasn’t figured out that nobody looks good in orange.

  3. Five decades in the space business and NASA still hasn’t figured out that nobody looks good in orange.

    I’d assume they’re not supposed to look good in orange, they’re supposed to look highly visible e.g. bobbling in the water after some sort of horrible disaster over the middle of the Atlantic.

  4. Just saw Discovery and the separated External Tank pass though the pre-dawn sky over London – two bright stars, one white and the other a very clear orange, about twice the width of the Moon apart.

    (To match orbits with the Space Station, the Shuttle launches on a trajectory that takes it over the southern UK about twenty minutes after lift-off. If it’s early dawn or late dusk here at the time, it’s possible to see the Orbiter and ET as they pass overhead.)

  5. Five decades in the space business and NASA still hasn’t figured out that nobody looks good in orange.

    And yet, our astronauts choose to suffer through it and soldier on. Now that’s dedication. :)

  6. Oh anonymous! Have you no sense of flair?

    So maybe they’de be harder to see, but you know how great they’d look, stepping into the dock in deep blue, Crimpleneâ„¢ leisure suits, with gold lamé trim, complete in matching gloves and slippers.


      1. I hear Gaultier is designing the next mission’s spacesuits.

        Oh, dear. Horizontal stripes.

  7. Argyle#8: I cry everytime I see one of those.

    Good to know I’m not the only one. It kinda gets you right there.

  8. Be sure to post the inevitable Lou Dobbs rant about Spanish Space Tweets.
    * * *

    One of the selling points of “Space: 1999” was that the moon base costumes were created by some high-priced designer.

  9. TEKNA2007 and ARGYLE. yeah, me too. it totally does.

    fwiw, a number of us from work meetup at the international space museum to watch the launch in second life at . if you have an computer with a reasonable graphics card, join us for the next one!

    there’s also a group at the NASA CoLab / Neil Armstrong Library next door that does the same thing; usually with conversation and storytelling afterwards. i _almost_ got to tell my “and i looked out the hotel window and realized it was the shuttle” story.

  10. Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (C.O.L.B.E.R.T.) en route to ISS. “I’m so proud my treadmill will be going into space to help trim down those famously fat astronauts. Lay off the Tang, Chubby!” -Stephen Colbert

  11. I managed to get up at 4:50am (UK summer time) and also remembered to wander outside, look up into the southern sky and also see the orbiter and external tank sailing majest here in the UK,ically across the sky – it goes over about 18-20 minutes after lift off, when flying to the ISS.

    There are only six more chances to see a Shuttle launch until the fleet is decommissioned and parked in various national museums. Get your kids, remind your neighbours. After that there are five years, at a minimum, before NASA next launch humans. (The ISS crew rotations will be via the Russian Soyuz.)

    And finally, I FAR prefer the NASATV HD stream to amateur talking heads getting in the way of the action:

  12. Watching a shuttle take off is one of those things that if you ever get the chance to do, you should. There is nothing that can prepare you for it. I watched the shuttle take off by accident a few years ago. I was in Florida and all of a sudden the traffic pulled over and people stopped. I looked up, and the shuttle was taking off on the horizon.

    Even at the distance I was from the launch, it was fucking nock-your-socks-off breath taking. TV really doesn’t do it justice. Your puny human mind can’t wrap around how absurdly big the shuttle is and the fact that it is flying straight up despite being the size of a building. You could even see people getting choked up a little (I among them). When you are watching the shuttle take off you can’t help but behold it and think “Wow. Humans kick ass”.

    Yeah, the shuttle program might be absurdly bloated, the shuttle itself might be an expensive piece of shit, and NASA might have developed a schizophrenic relationship with safety, but that doesn’t change the fact that a fucking building sized spaceship is going straight up in the air on a plume of fire to go hang out in an environment so hostile that only humans and a few hibernating bacteria can go there and live. Like I said, it is awesome to the point of almost being religious.

  13. Orange suits aside, that is one good looking flight crew. Are you sure they aren’t going to detonate a nuke on an incoming comet?

  14. As a Mexican it’s great to see someone like José Hernández doing such an incredible thing as this, even if his family had to go to the US to give him the opportunity.

    It also helps that he’s the spitting image of a typical Mexican, seriously, he couldn’t look any more Mexican if he tried. Also good to see a moreno “Mexican” rising higher than the usual güeros.
    (I’m a güero, btw)

  15. I had tickets for the KSC Causeway for the launch in Feb. but it got pushed back to March so I missed it.

    As luck would have it, this time I was on vacation in Florida but on the opposite side of the state! I viewed it from the 6th floor balcony of our hotel on St. Pete Beach. It was breathtaking, I had no idea the view would be so nice to view from such distance!

    I’m from Illinois, so this is the first time I saw a launch with my own eyes. Its tough for non-Floridians to see a launch, given the unpredictable variables that can alter launch schedules by days… weeks… months. But after this I’m going to NEED to try again and again to get tickets to see a launch from up close before they retire the fleet!

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