Discovery lands tomorrow

The space shuttle Discovery will be landing tomorrow (hopefully) at 12:05am Friday (BST) or 7:05pm Thursday (EDT – local time for the Kennedy Space Center). Since leaving the International Space Station, following the construction mission STS-128, the shuttle has appeared as a fainter moving blob in the sky, preceeding the brighter ISS. Today, the orbit became just right for me to take a photograph or two of the spacecraft above where I live:

What you see in the image above are two trails – the fainter shuttle one to the left and the brighter ISS coming into frame on the right. The trails represent the distance travelled by the two in the second for which the exposure ran. Another photograph captured the two either side of the brightest object in the southern end of the sky tonight – Jupiter.

Again there is the fainter shuttle to the left and brighter ISS to the right, but between them is the very bright planet Jupiter. One final shot is the best focused of the three, the ISS approaching Jupiter. All photos can be seen in this astrophotography set.

If you want to see satellites in your skies, check Heavens Above on a clear night. But back to the mission these mysterious blobs are on.

Following yesterday’s post, another mission status briefing, Flight Day Twelve Highlights and a media event have been added to NASA’s Youtube Channel (and there’s a briefing going on right now, which will no doubt make it there soon). Here’s the ones already done:

STS-128 can be followed by occasional bulletins here, its mission pages, through live events on NASA TV (later posted to NASA’s Youtube Channel) or through twitter via @Astro_Jose, @Astro_Tim, @CFuglesang, @Astro_Nicole and @NASA. Check here to see if the ISS or other satellites are going to pass over your area.


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