Update, 5:55pm PDT: Heard just now on Mission Control audio: "Home! (...) Welcome home Discovery, after a successful mission, stepping up science to a new level on the International Space Station." A beautiful touchdown at 5:53pm PDT, and damn tootin' we heard (and felt) the twin booms here in LA.
Southern California BB readers, here's your evening forecast: breezy with a chance of BEWMMMM! Expect a large sonic boom between 530-555pm PDT this evening if you're in one of the colored areas in the map embedded at left (click to see large size).
The so-called "deorbit burn" is scheduled to begin at 4:47 p.m. PDT for a 5:53 p.m. landing at Edwards in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles, according to details published on NASA's website. The second opportunity for leaving orbit will come at 6:23 p.m., ending with a landing at 7:28 p.m.
The mission to deliver supplies and equipment to the International Space Station lasted 2 weeks and spanned 5.7 million miles. More: LA Times, NASA "Landing Blog."
Wooo! The deorbit burn is beginning as I type this blog post. Snip:
Discovery's orbital maneuvering system engines are firing now. This two-minute, 35-second deorbit burn will slow the orbiter's forward speed by about 267 feet per second, enough to begin its descent through the atmosphere.
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