Spaceflight Now





The Mission




Orbiter: Discovery
Mission: STS-119
Payload: S6 power truss
Launch: March 15, 2009
Time: 7:43 p.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: March 28 @ 3:13 p.m. EDT
Site: Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC
Mission Status Center

STS-119 Video Coverage

High Definition Video

NASA TV (rev. S)

Launch Windows Chart

Countdown Timeline

Ascent Timeline

Master Flight Plan

ISS Spacewalk Stats

Space Shuttle Schedule

Space Shuttle History

Manned Spaceflights

STS-119 Mission Index

Our Shuttle Archive




The Crew




Meet the astronauts flying aboard shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission.

Meet the Astronauts

CDR: Lee Archambault

PLT: Tony Antonelli

MS 1: Joe Acaba

MS 2: Steve Swanson

MS 3: Ricky Arnold

MS 4: John Phillips

Up: Koichi Wakata

Down: Sandy Magnus

Current Demographics

Flight Assignments




Spaceflight Now +



Subscribe to Spaceflight Now Plus for access to our extensive video collections!
How do I sign up?
Video archive

STS-119: The programs

In advance of shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission to the station, managers from both programs discuss the flight.

 Play

STS-119: The mission

A detailed preview of Discovery's mission to deliver and activate the space station's final power truss is provided in this briefing.

 Play

STS-119: Spacewalks

Four spacewalks are planned during Discovery's STS-119 mission to the station.

 Play

STS-119: The Crew

The Discovery astronauts, led by commander Lee Archambault, meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.

 Play

Become a subscriber
More video



Discovery flight plan changed
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: March 20, 2009

NASA managers, thrilled at the successful deployment of a fourth and final set of solar arrays on the international space station today, approved a revised flight plan that will delay hatch closure and the shuttle Discovery's undocking slightly to improve the odds of getting critical experiment samples back to Earth in case of weather wave-offs that might delay the orbiter's return.

LeRoy Cain, chairman of NASA's Mission Management Team, said the revised flight plan will optimize the crew's docked timeline while still ensuring a touchdown on March 28 as originally planned. By delaying hatch closure and undocking slightly, experiment samples that must be shipped home cold can stay in the space station's freezer longer, giving them more shelf life aboard Discovery.

"End of mission remains ... a week from tomorrow," Cain said. "The difference is the option we settled on will allow us a little bit more time during the docked phase for the crew to take advantage of some other work, including transfers and other items. It'll result in the hatch closure and undocking occurring on the same day, on flight day 11. It kind of optimizes the docking timeline and gives us a little bit of margin."

Cain also said Discovery's heat shield is in good shape. A detailed assessment based on launch imagery, an inspection by the crew in orbit and a photo survey carried out by the station's crew during Discovery's final approach revealed only a few relatively minor problems.

"As far as the thermal protection system, we've essentially cleared the vehicle for all intents and purposes," Cain said. "We haven't officially made that determination in the Mission Management Team because there is one item of interest that is outstanding, but it's not going to be an issue for us in terms of being able to execute a safe deorbit and landing of Discovery."

Along with a damaged tile on Discovery's left inboard elevon, or wing flap, close-up photography also revealed a protruding gap filler, a thin spacer used to keep adjacent tiles from rubbing against each other. The damaged tile is not considered a problem and protruding gap fillers have been seen on other shuttle flights. This one, at the back of the shuttle, is not believed to be a problem.

At worse, Cain said, some downstream tiles could suffer enough damage to require replacement. On the other hand, vibrations associated with the elevon's movement - or the re-entry airflow - could work the gap filler loose or simply bend it over. But the issue has not yet been closed out.

"There's a gap filler on one of the elevons, the left inboard elevon, one of the little spacers between the tiles is protruding," Cain said. "We have a lot of flight experience with tile and gap filler and different kinds of issues in this part of the underside of the orbiter and the team's very confident this one's not going to be an issue. But we have a little bit of analysis and we want to give the team an opportunity to peer review all that. But I anticipate we'll officially clear the vehicle sometime over the weekend."

As for Discovery's performance during the climb to space last Sunday, Cain said the shuttle's boosters, main engines and external fuel tank all performed well.

"We just had exceptionally good performance out of the propulsion elements," Cain said. "The booster element reported they have no significant anomalies, but they do have what they characterized as 'squawks.' I look forward to seeing in greater detail, probably on Monday, what some of those more or less minor issues are. ... But the verbal quick-look presentation looked very good today now that the boosters are back in the hangar at the Cape."

Aboard the international space station, the astronauts checked out the tools and equipment they will need for a spacewalk Saturday while Sandra Magnus worked to install a replacement distillation centrifuge carried up by Discovery for the station's urine recycling system.

The water recycling system is critical to NASA's long-range plans to support six full-time astronauts aboard the outpost. The system is designed to convert condensate and urine into clean water for drinking, personal hygiene and oxygen generation.

But when the system was activated late last year, engineers ran into problems with the vacuum distillation assembly, a critical component that features a high-speed centrifuge. A new DA was flown up aboard Discovery and engineers hope to activate it over the weekend.

In the meantime, NASA managers were thrilled with the crew's successful deployment of the new S6 truss segments two solar wings earlier today. The extension of both panels, the channel 1B array first and then the 3B wing, "went very well. We didn't have any problems with it, we were very pleased with how the plan came together, how it was executed," said lead flight director Kwatsi Alibaruho.

"As we mentioned yesterday, we were going to be paying particularly close attention to the deployment of that (second) 3B solar array," he said. "One of the things that was of particular concern to us during the deployment of that solar array was the fact that that array had been packed away for so long. I mentioned in yesterday's mission status briefing that it had been packed for three years. It was actually packed for eight years."

During deploy today, television views showed a "considerable amount of deformation of the solar panels due to tension and stiction," Alibaruho said. "There was much more stiction in the 3B solar array than there was in the 1B solar array. ... The good news is all of that was in family with our experience. We executed the plan we had developed pre-flight for the thermal conditioning and all of that went very well."

Said Dan Hartman, chairman of the space station mission management team: "It was a truly fantastic day in space. The international space station team and its partnerships are on cloud nine with the completion of the integrated truss assembly as well as the finalization of our electrical power grid on the space station. It took years to get here. We had some struggles along the way, but it's a major accomplishment for NASA and the partnership team."

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: SECOND SOLAR WING FULLY DEPLOYED PLAY
VIDEO: SECOND SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY PLAY
VIDEO: FIRST SOLAR WING FULLY DEPLOYED PLAY
VIDEO: FIRST SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED ANIMATION OF SOLAR ARRAY DEPLOYMENT PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 5 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER STEVE SWANSON RELEASES LOCKS PLAY
VIDEO: STARBOARD 6 TRUSS ATTACHED TO THE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: WALKTHROUGH OF SPACEWALK NO. 1 PLAN PLAY
VIDEO: OVERVIEW OF THE STARBOARD 6 TRUSS PAYLOAD PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED ANIMATION OF TRUSS INSTALLATION PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: POWER TRUSS HANDED FROM SHUTTLE TO STATION PLAY
VIDEO: STARBOARD 6 TRUSS HOISTED FROM PAYLOAD BAY PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF S6 TRUSS UNBERTHING PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED TOUR OF DISCOVERY'S PAYLOAD BAY PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE CREW WELCOMED ABOARD STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY DOCKS TO SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE'S POINT OF VIEW DURING BACKFLIP PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY PERFORMS 360-DEGREE BACKFLIP PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF RENDEZVOUS AND DOCKING PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF HEAT SHIELD INSPECTIONS PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: THE FULL STS-119 LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: EXTERNAL TANK CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: VAB ROOF PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-1 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-2 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-6 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: FRONT CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: BEACH TRACKER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PLAYALINDA BEACH PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: THE VIP VIEWING SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PRESS SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: WEST TOWER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 009 PLAY

VIDEO: SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY BLASTS OFF PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE'S CREW MODULE HATCH CLOSED FOR FLIGHT PLAY
VIDEO: MISSION SPECIALIST STEVE SWANSON BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: PILOT TONY ANTONELLI BOARDS DISCOVERY PLAY
VIDEO: COMMANDER LEE ARCHAMBAULT BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS QUARTERS FOR LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS DON SPACESUITS FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF SUNRISE AT LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF HYDROGEN ACCESS ARM RETRACTION PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF SATURDAY NIGHT'S GANTRY ROLLBACK PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S SHUTTLE AND WEATHER UPDATE BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: POST-SCRUB NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY IN THE PREDAWN DARKESS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S ROLLBACK OF PAD GANTRY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF PAD GANTRY ROLLING BACK PLAY
VIDEO: THE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE IN FLORIDA FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: POST-ARRIVAL COMMENTS FROM THE CREW PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: FLIGHT READINESS REVIEW BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: SECOND LAUNCH POSTPONEMENT BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: NARRATED MISSION OVERVIEW MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MEET SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S ASTRONAUTS PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH COMMANDER LEE ARCHAMBAULT PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH PILOT TONY ANTONELLI PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS1 JOE ACABA PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS2 STEVE SWANSON PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS3 RICKY ARNOLD PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS4 JOHN PHILLIPS PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS5 KOICHI WAKATA PLAY

VIDEO: NASA OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE LAUNCH DELAY PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE STATION'S VIBRATIONS DURING REBOOST PLAY

VIDEO: INFORMAL NEWS CONFERENCE AT RUNWAY PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE FOR PRACTICE COUNTDOWN PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY POSITIONED ATOP PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: EARLY MORNING ROLLOUT FROM THE VAB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY ARRIVING AT PAD 39A PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY HOISTED FOR ATTACHMENT TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CRANE ROTATES DISCOVERY VERTICALLY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DISCOVERY MOVES TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NOSE WHEEL LANDING GEAR RETRACTED PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY GOING VERTICAL PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ASSEMBLY BUILDING CRANE WORK PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY'S TRIP TO VAB PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF PAYLOAD'S MOVE PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: STS-119 MISSION OVERVIEW BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALKS PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY
MORE: STS-119 VIDEO COVERAGE
SUBSCRIBE NOW

John Glenn Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Celebrate the shuttle program

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Anniversary Shuttle Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Mercury anniversary

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.