Space Shuttle scheduled to land near LA this evening, big sonic boom expected


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).

That's when the Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to land at Edwards Air Force Base out in Mojave, instead of KSC in Florida (due to sketchy weather back east). Snip from LA Times item:

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.

Update: Sonic boom + unsuspecting dog = the video below (via @caseymckinnon via @georgeruiz).